Paying the Price: Loyola Students to Pay an Extra $1,370 in Tuition Next Year

Alanna Demetrius | The PhoenixThe last day for Loyola students to withdraw from a class has been moved from March 23 to March 30, according to the provost's office.

This is an updated version of a previous story.

Loyola’s leadership has once again hiked tuition significantly — despite a pledge Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney made at her 2016 inauguration to limit tuition increases in order to fund the university.

And once again, Rooney has refused to discuss the tuition increase, which has students and their families worrying about how to cover the added expenses.

A Loyola spokesperson said Rooney was “unavailable.”

On Jan. 16, Rooney and Loyola’s Chief Financial Officer Wayne Magdziarz announced via a school-wide email tuition will jump 3.1 percent for the 2020-21 academic year — $30 less than last year’s 3.3 increase, which took effect this academic year.

Sophomore human resources major Lindsey Dubose said she doesn’t see a difference in the quality of education at Loyola despite increased costs and promised improvements. She said her parents pay for her school but have to work extra to afford Loyola.

“Every time the price goes up, it’s not what they sign up for,” Dubose, 19, said.  “My mom is a nurse and she got a second job just to make a little spare change … solely because of my school.”

This is how it works: Loyola undergraduate students will have to fork over an additional $1,370 in tuition next year from this academic year’s price tag of $44,130 — totaling to about $45,500 — the university’s website shows. This tuition cost excludes housing, a $419 student development fee and $125 technology fee, according to the email from Rooney and Magdziarz. Fees won’t increase from the current year, the email said.

Room rates vary, but the email said they could increase as much as 2 percent next year. This year, the average first-year double room costs $9,260 to 9,360 with an average $2,660 meal plan — which could also increase by up to 2 percent.

Even without the increases, Loyola is one of the most expensive colleges to attend in Illinois.

Rachel Boden, a senior advertising and public relations major, said although the hike for next year won’t affect her, she’s worried about how costs have increased in her four years at Loyola and how she’ll pay back her parents — who currently cover her tuition.

“Thankfully, my parents have helped me out with [paying my tuition] so I don’t have to take out loans, but eventually … I do want to pay them back so it’s something that’s obviously on my brain,” Boden said.

With the 2020-21 increase, the school will bring in about $2.5 million of additional revenue, documents provided by Magdziarz show. 

“We spent a lot of time on making sure that we don’t give even one-tenth more of a tuition increase than we have to,” Magdziarz said. 

After a tuition increase is proposed by an internal group and goes through two other committees, the Board of Trustees has the final say, Magdziarz said. Loyola’s Board of Trustees isn’t easily accessible to the public, which some say makes communication “not possible.”

He said the decision to raise tuition for 2020-21 was made at a board meeting in December. 

Magdziarz offered some context for what the money will go toward, including what the email mentioned as “necessary investments” in salaries and benefits, educational programs, student health and wellness, academic support services, libraries and research and technology infrastructure at Loyola’s campuses.

The university is planning to increase salaries and benefits for employees by $14.2 million, documents show.

Magdziarz specifically mentioned investing $1 million in cyber security to protect “proprietary information.” He also mentioned investing in research as a new provost arrives on campus this spring and the university transitions to a “one-provost model” — meaning one provost will oversee all of Loyola’s campuses. 

He also mentioned investments in Loyola’s police force Campus Safety, campus wellness and the new Office for Equity and Compliance, which handles reports of sexual misconduct on campus and used to be known as the Title IX office. The former Title IX office has faced blistering criticism for allegedly mishandling allegations from students in recent years, including three women who alleged they were assaulted by the same man.

Financial aid hasn’t always increased with tuition hikes, but this year is an exception, Magdziarz said. The university is expected to invest about $2 million for financial aid this year, in addition to the approximate $220 million used to fund financial aid, he said.

For other Jesuit schools, the 2019-20 school year saw Marquette University’s tuition and mandatory fees grow by nearly 5 percent, Saint Louis University by 3.5 percent and Boston College by 4.5 percent, documents show.

The average tuition increase at private universities nationwide from 2018-19 to 2019-20 was 3.4 percent, according to the College Board, and the average tuition cost for 2019-20 was $36,880 — meaning Loyola’s roughly $45,000 tuition is about $10,000 above average for private schools. The average tuition and fees at private universities has jumped 154 percent since the late 1990s, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Tuition has gone up at Loyola every year since 1989, The Phoenix reported. In 2016, officials announced tuition increases of 4 percent for the following academic year, the highest in recent years.

Magdziarz wouldn’t say whether or not the university has plans to increase tuition for 2021-22, but said “it is probably not realistic to suggest that there would be any quality university that would not have at least some tuition increase every year as part of its budget plan.”

Correction: an original version of this article spelled Wayne Magdziarz’s last name “Madgziarz” in the 14th paragraph. It has been corrected.

Some wording has also been modified from the original version for clarity.

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