Though tuition will increase next year, the change won’t be drastic, said Dave Pardieck, director of financial assistance.
Annual tuition will increase about 5 percent at the most, Pardieck said. That’s not quite $1,200, raising yearly bills to about $25,147. The increase is less than last year’s 6-percent raise.
Room and board costs could rise about 3 percent, totaling a little less than $7,880 a year.
The university determines whether an increase in tuition is necessary through a series of examinations, starting with the financial aid office, Pardieck said. The office analyzes current costs with possible scenarios, factoring in various amounts of state and federal funding and working with the comptroller’s office, to determine the increase.
“Tuition increases are mainly driven by external factors,” Pardieck said.
The office examines anticipated grants students may receive and looks at what salaries will be increased in the process.
But the struggling economy meant the school had to heavily consider what a higher tuition would mean for students.
“We kind of went into it this year with our eye toward trying to get an increase lower than in the past,” Pardieck said. “We got some signals from senior administration that we wanted as small an increase as possible.”
The economy has had its effects on demand for grants from the university, too.
Pardieck said the university is anticipating an “increase in demand for institutional dollars,” or money from Bradley to students.
But he said this could be difficult, since state and federal funding will most likely not increase.
Still, the university is working to keep costs low.
“[The price point is] one of the distinctive features of the school,” he said. “We’re trying to deliver good value.”
Ongoing projects part of the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance won’t have much of an effect on annual costs.
“That’s already kind of blended into the long-term financial picture,” Pardieck said.
As long as interest on long-term bonds doesn’t drastically rise, the campus improvements shouldn’t cause an uptick in tuition.
“How do we keep our prices as low as possible and still deliver high quality?” Pardieck said. “You don’t cut your way to quality.”
Students have come to expect annual tuition increases, though they aren’t always in favor of them.
“It’s nice that they give you grants, but it would be even nicer if we had locked-in tuition,” said junior nursing major Lizzie McSherry. “But they are always trying to improve campus.”
Nationwide, tuition increases are a bit higher. Ohio State University is planning an 8.5-percent increase in tuition costs, and Boise State University is discussing a 9.9-percent hike. The University of Illinois is considering raising tuition by 20 percent. Millikin University will raise tuition by 4 percent.