Loyola undergraduate students will see an additional $1,690 tacked onto their tuition bill for the 2022-2023 school year, bringing the total tuition cost to $48,100 from $46,410 per year, as Loyola announced it’s raising its price tag once again.
Loyola’s tuition has gone up every year since 1989, The Phoenix reported. The latest increase of 3.65% was decided on during the final year of Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney’s tenure, as she’s expected to depart from her position at the conclusion of the 2021-2022 school year.
Despite a pledge Rooney made during her inaugural address to stop the university’s reliance on tuition increases, the cost of being a Loyola student has gone up every year of her presidency — totaling an overall increase of $6,380 since her first year in office, with this increase being the highest of her tenure.
Rooney, who hasn’t answered The Phoenix’s questions about tuition increases since 2017, wasn’t available to come to the phone, according to Loyola spokesperson Matt McDermott.
Wayne Magdziarz, senior vice president, chief financial officer and chief business officer of Loyola, said tuition increases are necessary for the university to invest in areas such as faculty recruitment and retention, campus infrastructure and the merit and need-based scholarships the university offers.
“Especially now during the pandemic, we as the leadership and the trustees have to be sure that we emerge from this thing called COVID as strong or stronger than we came in,” Magdziarz said.
Magdziarz has previously explained Loyola is a “tuition-dependent university.” About 95% of the scholarships given out by the university are financed with university revenues instead of through the university’s endowment, which is currently around $1 billion, according to Magdziarz. Some other universities have endowments around $2 billion to $4 billion, which can be used to fund scholarships, Magdziarz said.
Last year in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, while classes were entirely online, students saw a tuition increase of $910 or 2% — one of the lowest in recent years. The university received backlash from students for raising the cost of attendance as the economic impacts of COVID-19 burdened many families, but in an interview with The Phoenix last year, Magdziarz said the increase was necessary to keep future increases low.
Now, with an increase $780 more than last year’s, Magdziarz said he stands by last year’s decision.
“If we had a 0% tuition increase last year it would not have been an adequate picture of the university finances and we would not have been able to have landed on a balanced budget,” Magdziarz said.
Part of the reason the university saw a lower increase last year is that non-salary spending was low due to the pandemic, Magdziarz said. Non-salary spending accounts for items like travel and conferences, which were put on hold due to COVID-19.
Magdziarz said the university structured the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget anticipating Loyola’s operations to be nearly normal.
“We’re pretty much assuming with fingers and toes crossed that we’re going to be back to normal operations,” Magdziarz said. “Which means full on-campus services, full residence halls, a very robust international program not only in Rome but a lot of other international cities.”
A large portion of dollars made from tuition increases go toward merit and need-based scholarships, Magdziarz said. The FY 2023 budget will see “over $280 million” in scholarship support for students across Loyola, according to the university’s announcement — $30 million more than last year’s reported $250 million.
Despite this, continuing students won’t see their scholarships change just because of the tuition increase, Magdziarz said. However, if the increase hurts a student financially, Magdziarz said he encourages them to complete a special circumstances appeal with the Financial Aid Office, and they could be allocated some of the extra funds the university sets aside for students who need additional help.
“We never want to lose a student for financial reasons and we really try to do everything we can to make sure Loyola is affordable, regardless of a tuition increase, regardless of the circumstances in the world or at Loyola,” Magdziarz said.
Savannah Core, a first-year history major, said after the increase she’s considering transferring to the University of Wyoming, which is cheaper and closer to her home.
“I love Loyola, I love my classes and all the opportunities I’ve been offered because of my enrollment, and it really hurts to think about leaving, but I don’t know if it’s worth it anymore,” Core said. “It just makes you feel really powerless.”
Nathaniel Gaub, a first-year studying multimedia journalism, said his parents are preparing for retirement and the tuition increase puts an extra strain on their family.
“I’m sure that this kind of puts a wrench in their plans,” Gaub said. “I wouldn’t want them to work longer than they want because of a tuition increase, but hopefully our FAFSA can update and I can get other scholarships and grants to help out.”
Other price increases included in the announcement were a rise in “up to 3%” for graduate tuition and a 3.3% increase in meal plan rates for undergraduate students, or about $190 for the year.
The announcement that dining costs will increase comes just weeks after The Phoenix reported it had found 20 students who said they had gotten sick after eating in the dining halls, and multiple instances where dining halls have failed inspections since 2013.
Magdziarz said a majority of the increase in dining costs is driven by the recent increase in food costs, and that he has confidence in Aramark.
Clara Maultsby, a first-year studying psychology, said she was particularly disappointed in the increase in dining costs.
“I couldn’t tell if I was shocked or not even surprised at all,” Maultsby said.
Like Core, she said she’s been considering transferring out of Loyola, and the tuition increase added to her list of reasons why.
“There’s just been a lot of things like this that have been disappointing from the administration and I’m just not super happy,” Maultsby said.
While Loyola seems to be among the first Jesuit universities to announce a 2022-2023 tuition increase, Magdziarz said he would guess Loyola’s 3.65% increase will fall in the “lower half” of increases across the board.
Marquette University, a Jesuit university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, announced a 2% increase for next year, according to its website. However, unlike Loyola, Marquette didn’t raise tuition for the 2021-2022 school year.
Columbia College Chicago, another private college in the city, will see a 10% increase for 2022-2023, or an additional $2,660, according to its website. The jump comes after two academic years with no tuition increases at the school. DePaul University in Lincoln Park saw a 2% tuition increase last year, and will see the same rise this year, according to its website.