The annual tuition increase for the upcoming academic year was set to $1,346 at the Board of Directors meeting in January.
To live on campus with standard room and board as well as the standard meal plan, Wittenberg’s tuition will now be $47,766, a 3.75% increase from last year. This is within the average tuition increase for private schools, which is between 3-5% according to Jonathan Green, Director of Financial Aid.
“We have always had tuition increases, dating back to the 1960’s,” said Green. “Each year tuition goes up. We have to take action to keep the increases low and manageable.”
The annual tuition increases are due to general increases such as salaries, insurance and utilities. This year, a $250 technology fee is included, which is designated for general technological advances in academic buildings. A $300 student activities fee is also included.
“Each year, the President of the University sends a letter to parents informing them of the tuition increase,” said Dean Sarah Kelly, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Students. “This year we have had no parents complain. We believe it’s because we keep the increase below the national average.”
Last year, the university gave $34 million in need-based and merit aid to students. That equates to an average of approximately $20,000 given to each of the roughly 1,700 students enrolled at Wittenberg, according to Dean Kelly.
When the tuition is increased, the Financial Aid department determines how much financial aid can be offered to students. When students submit their financial aid application and admission packet, the Financial Aid department compiles a package that will make it possible for the student to attend Wittenberg.
“We generally don’t increase the financial aid package to cover the tuition increase,” said Green. “We’ve opted to hold financial aid steady and go for the lowest increase possible.”
If Wittenberg’s financial aid were increased at the same rate as the tuition is increased, then tuition would have to be increased even more to compensate what was spent through financial aid.
The Board of Directors, who makes the final tuition decision, is comprised of Wittenberg alumni, Lutheran pastors, and members of the Springfield community who are distinguished leaders.
“I know that the Board, historically, will look at what costs will increase,” said Green. “They look at the expenses and will look to see what increase will be necessary to keep our current programs.”
According to Dean Kelly, Wittenberg is “cautiously excited” about the enrollment for the upcoming academic year. With a record breaking 6,800 applications, 160 new students have already made their deposits confirming their futures with Wittenberg.
(Meagan Steed / email@example.com)