Stanford News


CONTACT: Marisa Cigarroa, News Service (415) 725-9750;

Board of Trustees raises undergraduate tuition by 4 percent

The Stanford Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Feb. 11, approved a 4 percent increase in tuition for 1997-98, raising the annual cost by $810 to $21,300. The percent increase is identical to last year's, which was the smallest in three decades.

"Obviously we are concerned about the level of tuition," Robert Bass, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said. "We have tried to keep it consistent with the growth in family income."

Stanford's current tuition is lower than that charged at 42 of the 112 institutions ranked by the Cambridge Associates survey of private colleges and universities. It also is lower than tuition at 11 of the 18 universities ranked by and belonging to the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE). According to a report budget officials presented to the Board of Trustees, the 4 percent tuition increase for 1996-97 improved Stanford's position six places in the Cambridge rankings and one spot in the COFHE university ranks.

Bass said it is likely that the 4 percent tuition increase for 1997-98 will be less than the tuition increases that will be reported by Stanford's major competitors. "Princeton is the only one that has reported so far, and they reported a 4.2 percent increase," he said.

Substantial reductions in administrative costs over the past five years have made the lower tuition increases at Stanford possible, said Tim Warner, vice provost for budget and auxiliaries management.

Since 1989, the university has made more than $50 million in budget reductions, almost all of which have come from administrative units rather than academic programs. "We have been very diligent in trying to keep our costs under control and looking for ways to reduce expenses," Warner said.

Whether the curb on tuition growth will continue in the foreseeable future depends in part on how well the university is able to continue to streamline its operations, he said.

"This kind of a place has an appetite for doing new things and there are always a lot of new ideas out there," Warner said. "I think the issue is selecting the best new ideas that we can support with unrestricted funds while maintaining the excellence of the programs that we already have."

Tuition funds are important because they represent about half of Stanford's unrestricted budget ­ the pool of money that can be used to support a wide range of university initiatives, such as academic programs, faculty and staff salaries, financial aid, library materials, administrative computing costs and maintenance of campus buildings.

According to figures released by the financial aid office, the university allocated over $36 million of its institutional funds in 1995-96 to support undergraduate need-based financial aid. Additionally, state and federal aid funds totaled approximately $8 million.

Even students who pay full tuition are subsidized ­ university budget officials estimate that tuition covers only 60 percent of the cost of a Stanford education.

"Universities are by their nature very labor intensive places," Bass said.

At Tuesday's meeting, the trustees also raised the 1997-98 room and board rate by $220 to $7,557, a 3 percent rise over last year. That puts the overall cost for tuition, room and board at $28,857, a 3.7 percent increase over the 1996-97 total of $27,827.

The board also voted to raise the 1997-98 tuition for the professional schools by 4 percent. The new tuition for the for the medical school is $26,385; for the law school is $24,165; for the business school is $24,000; and for the School of Engineering's graduate program is $22,740. General graduate tuition for 1997-98 has been set at $21,300, also a 4 percent increase.


By Marisa Cigarroa