Tuition scheduled to increase for next year

Liberty University students can look forward to a tuition jump of $507 from spring 2011 to fall 2011.

Although those numbers sound drastic, Liberty’s tuition hike wanes in comparison to other schools nationwide.

Nearby public university Virginia Tech is planning a 9.6 percent in-state tuition jump next year, compared with Liberty’s 6 percent increase.

According to College Board, on average, tuition at private schools is more than double that of their public counterparts.

Private institutions like George Washington University of Washington D. C. and Brandeis University of Massachusetts cost more than $40,000 to attend annually.

Even Sweet Briar College of nearby Sweet Briar, Va. has tuition, including housing and student life fees, of nearly $41,000.

“Liberty strives to keep its tuition and fees affordable and remains among the least expensive private universities in the nation,” Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said.

The decision to increase tuition was made by the university’s finance department after they analyzed the University’s necessary operating costs, comprised by bills for items like utilities, salaries and fuel.
Falwell was quick to clarify that tuition increases have no link to recent campus expansion and building developments.

“Capital projects are not being funded with tuition increases,” Falwell said. “Tuition increases at Liberty are designed only to cover a portion of the university’s expected increases in operating expenses.”
Freshman Mellissa Gringer said she is “not too happy” about paying more money for her education.

“Looks like I am going to have to be paying more loans,” Gringer said.

Gringer’s attitude reflects that of many students.

“I feel like it was enough to begin with,” freshman Emily Little said. “It’s probably worse for other people who are in harder situations.”
Tuition hikes reflect dismal economic times for the entire nation.

In 2011, the U.S. inflation rate has been steadily increasing. In March it came in at 2.7, up from 2.1 in February and 1.6 in January, according to the U. S. Inflation
Calculator’s website.

According to the Financial Forecast Center, rates will continue to climb through the end of this year, even rising into the threes this summer. Although this bodes poorly for the pockets and purses of all U.S. citizens, the administration at Liberty said they plan to continue ensuring that tuition remains affordable. This will particularly be through the $100 million they award in scholarships annually.

“This is direct, non-governmental assistance from the university,” Falwell said. “ We plan to continue this high level of financial aid to our students.”

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