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Behind the Scenes on Why Tuition Keeps Increasing

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Behind the Scenes on Why Tuition Keeps Increasing


Money–something everybody wants, and nobody can get enough of–and for most college students, the only number smaller than our bank accounts is how many hours of sleep we get. This is why the price of tuition is a number that no one wants to see rising. Nonetheless, over the last few SU’s tuition has begun to spike upwards in an unprecedented fashion.

Starting in 2013, the cost of SU tuition rose at a steady rate for nearly a decade, increasing anywhere from 2.10% to 3.56% before reaching a record increase of 3.95% in 2022. This 0.4% increase may not seem like much, but such an outlier proved to be an ill omen as just the next year (2023) SU smashed its previous best with a record-breaking increase of 5.72%. Go Pirates! However, despite being an anxiety-inducing number, SU beat their personal best this year: 2024-2025 tuition is rising 6.2% to a new record of $71,865. Shoutout to the financial department for being good at crunching those numbers!

Seeing numbers rise in an inflated economy can be scary to college students who are going out into a world where jobs feel limited, prices for homes, cars, gas, and the like have vastly inflated over the last five years. Being in a small, liberal arts school where students have close relationships with faculty and staff, it’s important to understand why tuition is increasing and the process behind it.

The Megaphone reached out to SU’s administration for some clarity on the process of tuition changes. Dinah Ritchie was able to answer some questions regarding the recent tuition changes. 

What factors influence tuition changes?

The determination of tuition adjustments involves a complex analysis. This includes discussions with the President and senior leadership, benchmarking against peer and aspirant institutions, and evaluating our position within our cohort group. Currently, SU’s tuition remains at the bottom compared cohort group. We assess the potential impact on students and the anticipated revenue generation, ensuring that any increase aligns with our commitment to affordability and value.”

Is the decision on tuition changes made by the Board?

“The process for setting tuition involves a recommendation from the leadership, which is presented [at] every fall [semester] Board of Trustee meeting for the upcoming academic year for their approval.”

What considerations are made when determining costs for decisions?

“Tuition covers costs associated with instruction and the overall academic life of our students, plus core services that contribute to their wellbeing and the campus experience. Our goals, as outlined in the Tactical Plan, guide our efforts to enhance student services and retention. We also account for inflation and the expenses involved in maintaining and upgrading campus facilities, including new amenities, communal spaces, and technological resources. We look at all aspects of running the university, from building and grounds maintenance to recruiting the best faculty and staff. One benefit of SU’s tuition is that, unlike other institutions, we don’t have a lot of fees. Just one that every student is charged, the Student Service/IT fee.” 
While these answers are illuminating, they don’t fully shine a light on the increases in recent years. Looking at the Tactical Plan provides more information, but still does not give specific insight into the process as it only discusses improvements to campus and policy. The first item in Category 1: Funding Priorities, stresses the importance of reducing student indebtedness–an objective seemingly at odds with the recent changes in tuition.

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