Article from the Mast

Breaking down all the numbers

PLU tuition explained
Jack Sorensen
Mast News Reporter

The recently announced tuition increase has left some Pacific Lutheran University students wondering what the increase is for and, more specifically, where the new money is going.

“Where is my money going to go to? What are they [PLU] going to use my increased funds for?” sophomore Angie Tennant asked.

Tennant said she understands the current economic woes the university may be facing, but she said she feels that PLU students are probably the least able people to pay the money to offset strains.

Sheri Tonn, vice president of the Office of Finance and Operations, said in an e-mail that students are seeing an increase in the annual comprehensive fee because PLU “has several areas where there are non-discretionary cost increases.”

Tonn said the increase includes cost of utilities, employee benefits and additional financial aid awards. Tonn said in a previous interview that the Office of Financial Aid will receive more money following the tuition increase.

Additionally, Tonn said that there were salary adjustments for some PLU staff and administration.

Some salary increases were given to faculty who were promoted, she said, as well as a small salary adjustment for each assistant professor.

Tonn said tuition increases are an annual occurrence and are seen nationwide and that PLU’s increase is still below the national average. PLU’s comprehensive cost will be $38,000, an increase of about 3.5 percent.

The comprehensive price for the 2010-2011 school year at California Lutheran University, PLU’s sister school and fellow affiliate of the ELCA, will be $46,000, an assistant at CLU’s Office of Financial Aid said in a phone interview.

The interviewee could not provide the increase from the 2009-2010 academic year.

St. Olaf’s, another ELCA college, has posted its comprehensive costs as well. According to St. Olaf’s Office of Financial Aid, the price for the 2010-2011 year will be approximately $45,300. The 2009-2010 cost was $43,700–an increase of 3.6 percent.

An office of Financial Aid employee at Midland Lutheran College, an ELCA college in Nebraska, said in a phone interview that next year’s costs will be about $30,800, an increase of 2.8 percent from this year’s cost of $29,956.

The University of Puget Sound also recently increased its comprehensive costs. Julie Stein, a cash operations specialist on the UPS Financial Services staff, said that next year’s costs will be $47,040. For the 2009-2010 year, cost to attend UPS was about $44,989. The increase is about 4.5 percent.

Tonn said that the national average tuition increase of non-ELCA colleges and universities generally falls between 5 and 6 percent.


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