Students, Now is the Time to Know What Tuition Actually Goes Toward

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“Another one?”

“Maybe if Loyola didn’t build a new multi-million dollar building for the Quinlan School of Business, this wouldn’t have happened.”

“This is ridiculous.”

These are some of the complaints you might hear from students about Loyola’s tuition increase for this fall.

Loyola’s tuition hike has become an annual announcement.

While most students complain about the consistent increase, it’s important to understand why the hike is necessary to help with the upkeep of the university and its academics.

On Jan. 26, Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney announced undergraduate tuition will increase by 2.5 percent for the next academic year. This hike will result in incoming and returning students paying roughly $1,000 more in tuition per year.

So great news if you’re a senior: You’re lucky. Well, sort of. It’s not like you haven’t fallen victim to a tuition hike in past years here.

The tuition increase shouldn’t surprise the Loyola community, which has seen undergraduate tuition climb from just $7,040 in 1988.

Since 2010, Loyola’s tuition has increased by an average of 4.2 percent. A first-year student at Loyola in 2010 paid $32,114. Next fall, first-year students will pay $41,720 before grants or scholarships.

With 2016 inflation calculated, the tuition increase since 2010 is roughly 9 percent.

Although the percentages seem small, the gradual increase has big impacts on students trying to pay their tuition and figuring out loans. Tuition increases are something undergraduate Loyola students should expect every year now, yet some find themselves refinancing to be able to still attend this university.

So where do your tuition dollars go and why is an annual increase necessary?

From 2015 to 2016, the United States saw a 2.1 percent inflation increase. So in part, a tuition increase to combat inflation makes sense. Loyola’s costs are rising and so is the cost of living for the faculty and staff Loyola has to pay. But still, tuition rose by nearly double the country’s inflation rate between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. This leaves students scratching their heads as to where their money is actually going.

Loyola runs on unrestricted gifts, tuition and other income. Despite an increase in other income by 2 percent from 2012 to now, tuition funds 90 percent of Loyola’s operations, according to data released by Robert Munson, senior vice president for finance at Loyola.

Loyola’s tuition prices go toward four separate categories: Plant, institutional support, unfunded scholarships and instruction and student services.

The money that goes into the plant category funds the depreciation of buildings and the upkeep of the university’s physical property, according to Munson.

Institutional support covers the cost to run Loyola from a business standpoint. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the President’s Office operating expenses, human resources, administrative services and information technology and finances.

Instruction and student services is what funds the tools needed for professors to adequately teach their students. It also helps cover part of the student experience, which includes free admission to sports games and Loyola’s food service.

It’s important to note that endowments also help fund some of Loyola’s expenses. For example, Loyola’s Quinlan School of Business has continued to grow since the Corboy Law Center didn’t offer adequate space for the school to have a proper student-teacher ratio.

The Schreiber Family donated $10 million to fund the building of the new Schreiber Center, which opened its doors for classes in fall 2015.

Along with tuition, students are obligated to pay a handful of fees, such as lab, technology and student development fees.

While lab fees cover lab upkeep and supplies, and technology fees cover software updates and supplying students with the latest technological advances in a student’s area of study, the student development fee is one of the more controversial fees.

The student development fee funds services for students such as the Wellness Center, Halas Recreation Center, the shuttle service and 8-Ride, according to Munson. He added it also covers special events organized for students such as Colossus, Senior Week, Welcome Week and Finals Breakfast.

The fee also allows students free entrance into Loyola athletic games, according to Munson.

“Well, what if I don’t use these resources?” students might ask themselves.

Now is the time to start using them to get your money’s worth.

There isn’t a way to deselect or opt out of paying this fee regardless of how involved you are as a student.

You can complain about tuition increasing, but make sure you know what you’re complaining about. Loyola offers a Jesuit education and has one of the finest campuses in the Midwest. You get what you pay for, which is a number of quality experiences.