By Natalie Nohr | Contributor
Pull out a calculator and start crunching numbers for the 2016-17 school year-tuition rates are increasing by four percent. Next year, combined with the cost of room and board, the price tag for a year at Taylor will be $40,317 compared to the $38,767 bill from 2015-16, according to data from the Office of Finance.
For the last four years, tuition has increased by just 2.5 percent, due to a commitment by university officials to stay at that percentage. That four year period is now up, according to Skip Trudeau, vice president for student development.
The price of tuition is decided on by university officials. Trudeau said that Vice President for Finance Stephen Olson first establishes a budget that covers all financial commitments. Then President Eugene Habecker and a cabinet set the budget. The board of trustees then approves the results.
The budget is then used throughout the year to cover costs across campus.
"We've always had (an increase)," Trudeau said. "This is my 16th year at Taylor (and my) 31st year in Higher Ed. I've never been in a situation where there wasn't some tuition increase."
Vice President for Finance Stephen Olson said that inflation plays a role in the tuition raise.
According to Olson, Taylor's operating costs rise each year. The tuition increases to compensate for the changes and allows the university to continue functioning at its high standards.
Olson said that the University Program Review (UPR) could positively affect the cost of tuition in the future.
"The UPR process was comprehensive and evaluated all of the existing university programs," Olson said. "In some cases, reductions to programs are being made. The cost reduction from these programs will either lower the rate of future tuition increases, or will be used to enhance areas of the university that have been determined to need more resources."
Freshman Daniel Thomas expressed frustration about the tuition increase and said he was not aware that the cost was going to rise. However, Thomas said he can understand the university's decision.
Trudeau said that, to many, this increase feels more significant than ones in years past. He attributes this to the four years of a 2.5 percent raise.
"This feels like larger than usual for us," Trudeau said. "(In) the economy that we live in, anything like that . . . is a big deal, we have to take that really seriously. We want to make sure that we're not pricing ourselves out."
Comparatively, the growth of tuition over the last five to ten years is below the average of other universities', according to Olson. Over the last four years, Taylor's increase rate was less than 3 percent. Olson said most universities similar to Taylor would have rates above that level.
"We're trying to keep that rate hike as small as we possibly can," Trudeau said.