Trustees Set Tuition, Budget For 1996-97 Year

Smallest tuition increase in over 20 years

By Douglas Whiting
Director of Public Affairs

The University's Board of Trustees approved an average 4.7 percent increase in combined tuition, fees, room and board charges for the 1996-97 academic year - the smallest such increase in more than 20 years - at its Feb. 2 meeting in Burns Library.

The board also approved Boston College's 25th consecutive balanced budget, which boosts financial aid for students and provides funds for the expected implementation of some University Academic Planning Council recommendations.

The action of the board will bring the average total charge for a Boston College undergraduate in 1996-97 to $27,313. The figure includes undergraduate tuition and fees of $19,298, an increase of $942 or 5.1 percent; and average room and board charges of $8,015, an increase of $285 or 3.7 percent.

In a letter to the parents of undergraduates announcing the new charges, Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella said, "Although the combined percentage increase is the smallest in more than 20 years, we are sensitive to the fact that any added cost represents a financial burden to many Boston College families. With that in mind, we are working to keep such increases as low as possible, while adding quality and value to the Boston College education."

Campanella cited the University's recent announcement of the Project Delta initiative, a three-year administrative reorganization designed to reduce costs and improve productivity and customer service. He also said the University "has invested new financial resources in areas directly affecting educational excellence."

Among those areas are faculty salaries, aimed at attracting and retaining outstanding teachers and researchers; technology applications such as Project Agora; and academic support, including library acquisitions and laboratories.

"These crucial investments in quality necessitated a portion of the 1996-97 increase in undergraduate charges," he wrote. "[T]he balance is due to ordinary inflation in the cost of goods and services required for the operation of the University, from food and fuel to staff salaries and equipment purchases."

Financial Vice President Peter C. McKenzie noted that the University administration revised its inflation assumptions downward in determining the new charges, calculating the charges based on a Consumer Price Index assumption of 2.5 percent for the coming year. A recent report by the US Department of Labor indicated that CPI during the past four years has ranged from 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent.

Included in the projected $355.7 million University budget for fiscal year 1997 is a 12.5 percent increase in student financial aid, bringing to $54,147,900 the amount of institutional aid BC will have available for students in the coming fiscal year. A $1.9 million academic enhancement fund has been created in anticipation of the implementation of some recommendations of the University Academic Planning Council, which has released a draft report that is currently being reviewed by the University community [see story on page 2].

University President J. Donald Monan, SJ, called the UAPC document "ambitious in terms of the quality of the institution and the distinctiveness of education that we are offering to our students." He said the goals of the UAPC establish ideals and set the criteria for future advancement and would result in Boston College becoming an even more important and major center of education in the United States.

Trustee Susan Gianinno, chairwoman of the board's Academic Affairs Committee, called the UAPC a "road map for Boston College's future academically" and said the plan provided a unique opportunity for the University to capitalize on its present financial and academic strengths.

During his report to the board, the president recalled the tragic deaths of undergraduates Peter Hall and Richard Reece Jr. in an Idaho avalanche during the semester break, saying such tragedies "have a profound effect on our students and on the entire institution." Nearly 1,000 students filled St. Ignatius Church for a Mass in memory of the two students on Jan. 18.

In other action, trustees voted to authorize a budget of $6.3 million to cover architectural and design fees and long-lead-time construction items for the Middle Campus construction project. Additional budget items for the project are expected at future board meetings. The project still must gain approval from the Newton Board of Aldermen this spring.

Chairwoman Marianne Short of the board's Student Life Committee reported on that committee's luncheon with AHANA freshmen and a meeting with representatives of the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, who informed committee members of the upcoming UGBC elections and reflected on their year in office.

Short said the UGBC representatives also offered their perspective on the recent activities of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community of BC and the Observer . The students criticized the Observer 's coverage of LGBC's Holiday Extravaganza in December and expressed continued support for LGBC. Trustee Wayne Budd called the administration's reprimand to both LGBC and the Observer "good judgment."

Campanella briefed trustees on the undertaking of Project Delta and said its goal of Boston College becoming "the best managed University in the country" is within reach.

Board members also heard a special report from John J. Maguire of the Concord, MA, enrollment management consulting firm Maguire Associates, who is conducting a series of undergraduate admissions marketing studies for the University. Maguire, a former dean for enrollment management at Boston College, said the University has entered a new era of competition for students, vying for students with the top echelon of colleges and universities across the country.

His firm's study, begun in 1989, is analyzing data collected from high school students in seven key markets around the country. The students were surveyed about attitudes towards Boston College and its competitors in terms of academic quality and reputation, campus and religious life, athletic programs and other characteristics. A new component of the study, begun this year, is targeting the attitudes of African-American students about BC and its competitors.

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