On Thursday, President of the College Adam Falk sent out a campus-wide email announcing changes in the tuition for the 2016-17 academic year.
Tuition will increase by 3.46 percent. This increase represents what the administration believes is needed to provide a quality education specific to the College. This number marks the ninth year in a row of a declining rate of increase of tuition.
With this increase, the breakdown for the 2016-17 academic year is as follows: a tuition cost of $51,490, a board cost of $6760, a room cost of $6930 and an academic and residential house fees cost of $300. This comes to a total of $65,480.
“The money we spend on your education every year comes from three main sources,” Falk said in the campus-wide email. “What we take from the endowment, what you and your families pay and what we receive as gifts for current use.”
The College does not spend more than five percent of the value of the endowment. The combination of money and gifts represents 59 percent of the College’s revenue. The rest of the money comes from student charge.
In his email, Falk commented that these figures fall in the middle of the tuition range for other institutions. “Our financial aid program will remain among the strongest anywhere, and if you think that you may be among those who now qualify for aid for the first time, please contact the financial aid office as soon as possible,” Falk said.
“A Williams education is expensive primarily because we believe that the key is providing students with a large number of talented teachers and mentors,” Provost Will Dudley said. He estimates that about $100,000 is spent on every student every year.
The College has not considered a tuition freeze to make it more affordable because it would only affect those who pay full tuition. When tuition rises, financial aid does as well. A tuition freeze would make the resources that are currently used much smaller. Therefore, the College instead tries to limit the growth rate of the tuition so that the impact on full-paying families is smaller.
As the endowment of the College increases, a greater portion of it is used for financial aid for students. The endowment now covers 48 percent of the College’s annual budget, and family contributions cover 36 percent of the annual budget. These figures represent an increase in the amount of money used from the endowment and a decrease in the amount of money used from families.
“We draw as much as we responsibly can from the endowment in order to keep tuition increases modest and to sustain our commitment to financial aid,” Dudley said. “We have succeeded in steadily shifting a greater share of the burden to the endowment.”
“The goal is to spend as much of the endowment as possible on quality, access and affordability for current students, while aiming to ensure those things for future generations,” Dudley said.
According to Dudley, the largest cost for the College is faculty and staff compensation. “Salaries and benefits are 60 percent of the total cost of running the College. To provide annual raises and keep up with the rising cost of benefits, we need additional revenue,” he said.
He listed the cost of library materials, such as books and journals that are utilized by the faculty and students, as an expense that has been rising over the years. Food, recruitment of a diverse student body from around the globe and compliance with campus safety federal regulations were among other high costs Dudley listed.