3.5 percent tuition increase is smallest in over a decade

Trae Williams, Staff writer

Tuition is not a sexy topic but raising tuition is even less attractive.

On Friday, Feb. 26, President Michael Victor announced the lowest tuition increase for Mercyhurst in more than a decade. At 3.5 percent Mercyhurst students can breathe a slight sigh of relief.

But how does 3.5 stack up against other universities? According to collegeboard.org from 2005-2016 the average increase of private nonprofit universities is 2.4 percent.

Despite being slightly above the average, Joe Howard, vice president for enrollment, was adamant that the university did its best to make it easier on the students.

“Typically our cost would rise anywhere from 4-6 percent,” Howard said.

Faculty and financial aid staff have all worked hard to make it as affordable as possible for incoming students.

Christian Beyer, director of undergraduate admissions, insists on getting students to a good start.

“Incoming students are new to the process and a lot of parents have anxiety about the cost, so we have perimeters in place, and have tried to make it as affordable as possible.”

Beyer continued to hammer home the proactive approach.

“What we have always done is take a holistic approach to the whole situation, looking at applications and financial aid. Each of our admission counselors works with incoming students, and look at their need and academics. We try to be as transparent as possible and make sure parents are knowledgeable…It really starts with that first year,” Beyer said.

One tool the university is hoping will educate and empower students is Mercyhurst’s partnering with the agency SALT. SALT is a financial agency that specializes in financial knowledge for college students and beyond college. The program has the ability to help students repay debt, have plans in place to pay for school, and even help students find a job.

Tuition stinks, tuition increases stink even more and Howard could not emphasize that enough.

“Tuition increases aren’t something anyone wants to hear but I’m really proud of what the president has done to keep the rise at a minimum.”