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College tuition increases by smallest amount in 30 years

The price of a College term will increase by only 2.74 percent in 1998–99—the smallest increase in three decades.

Room and board charges will remain the same as in the 1997–98 academic year, at $7,606, and tuition will increase by just 3.69 percent to $22,902. Including tuition and room and board, the term bill for the upcoming academic year will total $30,508.

The U of C’s decision to limit increases in the price of an education is part of a national trend. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported in March that many institutions, including Yale and Harvard, are raising tuition by only 2.5 to 4 percent next year, representing the lowest in-creases for these schools in the last 20 or 30 years.

Michael Behnke, U of C vice president and associate dean of the College for enrollment, attributes the low increases in tuition at the U of C to three forces: a desire to be responsive to the public’s concerns about the price of a college education; a balanced budget achieved by controlling the University’s costs; and the institution’s current overall financial health.

“The College endowment has done very well this past year,” he says. “Some of that ought to be shared with the students and families.”

Room and board fees stayed the same, Behnke says, to try to keep the U of C’s charges more in line with other institutions’.

Unlike Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, schools that are changing their financial-aid policies for the coming year in hopes of attracting more middle-class students, the U of C does not see a need to alter its financial-aid policy, which already attracts many middle-class students, Behnke says. The U of C—which offers 62 percent of its undergraduates financial aid, compared to Princeton’s 41 percent, Stanford’s 44 percent, and Yale’s 40 percent—will continue to offer financial aid to undergraduates based on the standard needs-analysis formula used by most other selective private universities, according to Behnke. In the 1997– 98 academic year, College students received a total of $25 million in financial aid from the University. The average amount, including grants, loans, and work-study, was $20,522, with an average grant award of $16,767.

“We are proud that we are able to continue making admission decisions without regard to financial need,” says U of C President Hugo F. Sonnenschein.—K.S.

Center Stage

Artistry and Industry: Twentieth-Century American Pottery, March 30–June 26. This exhibition looks at developments in industrial technology and their impact on the making of art pottery. Crerar Library; 773/702-7720.

George J. Stigler Memorial Lecture, May 4 at 4 p.m. Vaclav Klaus, former prime minister of the Czech Republic, speaks on “The Preachings of George Stigler, Communism and Its Transformations.” Mandel Hall; 773/702-7572.
The Sublime and the Fantastic: African Art from the Faletti Family Collection, May 14–June 28. Through 75 sub-Saharan works dating from the 16th to the early 20th century, this exhibition explores African artistry. Leadership emblems, divination material, and masterworks of devotional worship signify the sublime, while polychrome spirit masks and altars evoke the fantastic. Smart Museum; call 773/702-0200.
The European-American Connection, May 15–17. This conference—held in memory of U of C professor François Furet—will address the European-American connection in the literary imagination; the image of Europe in American self-understanding, and vice versa; and the meaning of the current European-American political-military alliance. Ida Noyes Hall; call 773/702-3423.
Ein Deutsches Requiem, May 17 at 3 p.m. The University Chorus, the Motet Choir, the Rockefeller Chapel Choir, and the University Symphony Orchestra perform Brahms’ work with guest conductor Sir David Willcocks. Rockefeller Chapel; call 773/702-8069.