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Feb. 23: Carnegie Mellon Raises Tuition 2.9 Percent, Lowest Increase Since 1975


Ken Walters                                

Carnegie Mellon Raises Tuition
2.9 Percent, Lowest Increase Since 1975

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University has announced a 2.94 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, setting the smallest increase in 34 years to help ease the recession's effect on families.
For 2009, tuition for entering undergraduate students will be $40,300. Costs of room and board were contained at a rate of 2.89 percent, with housing costs set at $6,060 and board costs increasing to $4,280. The university's Board of Trustees authorized the increases at its Feb. 21 meeting.
"Given the current economic climate, the university felt it was important to hold down the rate of the tuition increase. We understand the financial difficulties families may be facing and feel it is important to respect that while continuing to manage the university's resources efficiently and effectively," said Carnegie Mellon Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy.
Carnegie Mellon has had a system of tiered increases in the past that helped to hold the line on costs for enrolled students. This year, all students will pay the same low tuition increase of 2.94 percent. For students who entered Carnegie Mellon in 2004 or 2005, tuition will be $36,832. Tuition for students who came to Carnegie Mellon in 2006 will be $38,088. For students who entered the university in 2007, tuition will be $39,560, while students who entered in 2008 will pay $40,300.
The university has undertaken cost containment moves during the past several months, while sustaining its academic programs and major capital projects such as construction of the School of Computer Science Complex. Murphy said the moves provide strong messages to students that the university intends to remain a leader in education and research while weathering the economic downturn.
"Our first priority is to provide the very best learning environment for our students. We realize that the costs of a Carnegie Mellon education, and the costs of higher education generally, represent a substantial investment for families, so it's vital that we continue to offer an educational experience that ensures the future professional success of our students," Murphy explained.
Murphy noted that the university asks for input from parents and students when considering tuition increases. "Both parents and students tell us that maintaining the exceptional quality of our educational programs is very important to them," he said.
Carnegie Mellon uses tuition to sustain and grow programs that allow it to compete for outstanding students and faculty. Tuition also supports the expansion of undergraduate education initiatives and the improvement of laboratory facilities. However, tuition falls far short of the total cost of educating a full-time student. As a result, the university engages in energetic fundraising efforts to build its endowment and funding for student programs, facilities and scholarships. It recently launched a $1 billion capital campaign titled "Inspire Innovation" that focuses on student needs. To date, the campaign has raised more than $565 million.
Carnegie Mellon offers competitive financial aid packages, and raising money for additional scholarships and student support continues to be a university priority. The university is maintaining its strong commitment to financial aid at a time when some families may be facing unexpected need. Murphy said that more than 51 percent of Carnegie Mellon students receive some form of financial aid.
Landing a spot in Carnegie Mellon's freshman class remains highly competitive. As of Feb. 1, Carnegie Mellon received a record 22,780 applications for the 1,360 spots in its first-year class. The university has also been recognized as a "best value" in U.S. News & World Report's college guide. Carnegie Mellon is currently ranked 21st globally by U.S. News & World Report and the 2008 London Times Higher Education Supplement.