5.3% tuition hike proposed for 2d time

By Kate Augusto and Liz Ratto

A plan is before the university’s board of trustees to raise undergraduate tuition by 5.3 percent, a little more than $750 a semester. The budget plan includes $12 million for items suggested by the Student Government Association (SGA) earlier this year, like better summer course offerings and financial aid packages.

Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life Philomena Mantella introduced the proposed budget, which includes funding for 28 new tenure-track faculty hires and more than $4 million in additional financial aid funds, she told the SGA senate last week.

“I feel very good about this [budget] that we are delivering some funds back to the students,” Mantella said.

The SGA executive board met with administrators twice to discuss the budget and articulate their budgetary priorities for next year.

Mantella commended the work of SGA President Rogan O’Handley, the rest of the SGA executive board and the entire student senate for their contributions in representing the student voice in allocating funds.

President Joseph Aoun’s senior team, comprised of administration like board of trustees members and senior vice presidents, prioritized SGA’s suggestions and worked them into their plans, Mantella said.

The plan would raise tuition from $14,955 to $15,750 per semester. There will also be an increase in room and board, which Mantella said is likely to be between 3.4 and 6 percent, depending on the building.

O’Handley said the amount of consideration given to student needs is unprecedented.

“This has never been done before. In years prior, there was a student seat on the committee and they got one vote of about a dozen,” he said. He described this year’s process as “a different budget, a different system, and because of the current administration, it’s a tremendous success.”

Among the priorities outlined by SGA were more funds for summer course offerings, increased faculty hires and money for renovations to the Curry Student Center and Blackman Auditorium.

The proposed budget includes $200,000 of funding for summer courses, most of which will be for offerings in the College of Arts and Sciences, Mantella said.

Former SGA president and current senator Bill Durkin said diverse offerings and more tenure track instructors are both necessary to beef up summer sessions.

“It’s important that they put some more resources into the summer course offerings,” Durkin said. “They’ve been lacking for years since we shifted to semesters, and I know they’re still not where they need to be.”

Some students in other colleges, however, said the financial aid allocations and better summer course offerings would not make a difference in their experiences at Northeastern.

“I don’t see the new course offerings helping because for me, it’s still only certain classes offered during the summer and I have to wait until fall to take a lot of them,” said Fatiana Cordosa, a junior nursing major.

The $4.1 million for financial aid will not just be for incoming students. About half, $2 million, is budgeted for upperclassmen financial aid.

“It’s important to note that a significant portion of the increase is going back into financial aid,” said Jack McCarthy, senior vice president of administration and finance.

Durkin said he is pleased the administration will set aside financial aid dollars for current students who have seen a significant drop in their families’ ability to pay for tuition.

“The adjusting of student financial aid packages is a very positive development of the last two years and I’m happy to see it continued,” Durkin said.

Students like Caitlin Camelio, a freshman biology major, agreed financial aid should be a priority as the Board of Trustees looks to approve next year’s budget.

“A tuition increase is bad, but with it comes better financial aid,” she said. “I think it’s reasonable

Leave a Reply