When you first stepped onto the campus of St Scholastica you probably would have heard the word “prestige,” or at your freshman orientation people would tell you, “Think about how lucky you are to be attending such a prestigious school.”
Prestige comes with a steep cost. St Scholastica tuition is roughly $35,000 for the 2010-2011 school year. That price will be going up .04 percent next year, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but translates to an extra $1,400.
Patrick Flattery, vice president of finances for 11 years at CSS, has seen tuition go up almost every year. “We are very sensitive about raising tuition,” Flattery said.
What most people do not understand is there are two types of tuition prices. Published tuition is the amount that we see on the school’s website, and what you find out on your school visit. The other one is the net tuition which is what you specifically end up paying after scholarships or grants are subtracted from the published tuition rate.
“Even though the published tuition is going up, the Net tuition will be going down,” Flattery said. “If you applied five years ago that Benedictine scholarship wouldn’t be even close to where it is now.”
It’s not just St Scholastica that is raising tuition. In fact, every college in Minnesota will be raising tuition. According to a report by Tim Post of Minnesota Public Radio, the 17 schools in the Minnesota Private College Council plan an average increase of 4.5 percent, about the same as last year. A year of tuition at one of Minnesota's private colleges now averages just under $30,000.
A few weeks ago President Barack Obama issued the 2011 State of the Union speech, during which he spoke of ways to make college more affordable. "We will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world,” President Obama said.
The way he will tackle that prediction is by doing six steps. The first step is to make larger Pell Grants. The President said that the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act invests more than $40 billion in Pell Grants to ensure that all eligible students receive an award and that these awards are increased in future years to help keep pace with the rising cost of college.
These investments, coupled with the funding provided in the Recovery Act and the President’s first two budgets, will more than double the total amount of funding available for Pell Grants since President Obama took office. The bill increases the Federal Pell Grant maximum award by the Consumer Price Index from 2013 through 2017, which is estimated to raise the award from $5,550 to $5,975, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
By the 2020-2021 academic school year, more than 820,000 additional Pell Grant awards are expected to be made as a result of to this new law. The next five steps are making Pell Grants more stable, investing in community colleges, an increased support for minorities, expanded income based repayments, and student loans that put students first. Our Government is stepping up, and trying to help out the students with the increasing tuition rate.
At St Scholastica we have seen great changes over the past few years with the additions of the football team and the women’s hockey team, which puts a greater burden onto the school, Flattery said, because now there are more coaches to pay for, and equipment, and transportation expenses. Most of St Scholastica expenses go toward faculty, two-thirds to be exact.
“We don’t necessarily hire the cheapest teachers, but the most qualified, which comes at a steeper cost,” Flattery said. “Running a college is expensive, we have helped our students out by our financial aid, and our grants and our Benedictine scholarship go up.”