Comprehensive fees rise for 2013-14

In an all-campus e-mail sent on Monday, President Falk informed the College community that the College’s comprehensive fee for the 2013-14 school year will increase by 3.75 percent. The comprehensive fee includes tuition, room and board, which will now total $58,900.

This percent increase is less than last year’s, which was an increase of 4.05 percent. This follows the downward pattern of comprehensive fee increases since the 2007-08 academic year. The comprehensive fees have increased by 5.8, 5.3, 4.9, 4.9 and 4.2 percent, respectively since that time.

Provost Will Dudley ’89 explained that the College has four main sources of revenue: endowment earnings (47 percent of revenue), student charges (35 percent), gifts (12 percent) and miscellaneous income (6 percent). “These sources provide the funding for everything that goes into making an excellent Williams education: small classes taught by first-rate faculty, a rich variety of services and programs and outstanding facilities,” Dudley said. As described by Falk in his e-mail, the comprehensive fee is determined after projecting the revenue from the other sources.

Dudley explained that “the increase will provide approximately $2.4 million in additional revenue, which represents 1.2 percent of a total budget of approximately $197 million.” The cost of a Williams education is approximately $90,000, which means that even students who pay the full comprehensive fee and receive no aid from the College still receive a subsidy of $30,000 per year. “These revenue sources also allow us to admit students based on their talents, rather than their ability to pay, and to meet the full demonstrated need of every student,” Dudley said. “The additional subsidy received by financial aid students is determined on a case-by-case basis, according to the ability of each family to contribute to the cost of their child’s education.”

In his e-mail, Falk explained how the percentage taken from the endowment is decided on every year. “The amount taken from the endowment is set by a longstanding formula that ensures that the endowment will be able to support future students to the same degree that it does current ones,” Falk wrote. Dudley concurred with Falk saying that the amount that can be taken from the endowment in any given year is about 5 percent of its total value, which amounts to about $93 million per year, which constitutes half of the College’s annual budget. “To ensure that the quality of a Williams education remains as high in the future as it is today, we must maintain the real value of the endowment,” Dudley said.

Falk also confirmed that neither the financial aid or study-away policies would change after this comprehensive fee increase. “Our financial aid program will remain among the most generous anywhere,” Falk wrote.