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QU tuition higher than national college average
The average tuition at a private four year institution in the United States is $17,123 for the year 2001-02. Include room and board and it brings you up to an average of $23,578.
Meanwhile, the tuition at Quinnipiac University is $18,840 with the total cost including room and board for a year ranging from $27,370 to $28,830, depending on which residence hall the student will live in.
“[Tuition] is a little high, but then again it’s a private school,” said Thomas Fortunato, Student Government president. “I kind of understand why it is the price it is.”
Jennifer Couto works in the Financial Aid office. She said she gets a lot of complaints about tuition from parents, especially when it is time for freshman enrollment.
“They usually want to know if there’s any more aid that can be given,” she said.
She explained that the applicant then will be put on a request for review, where the application will be brought up in front of a review committee to establish if he or she is eligible for more aid.
Top ten expensive schools
For 2000-01, Quinnipiac University ranked number six in Connecticut among the top ten most expensive private schools. At the top are schools like Wesleyan, Trinity, Yale, Fairfield and University of Hartford. Below Quinnipiac are, amongst others, Sacred Heart and University of Bridgeport.
Sophomore Danielle Drolet just transferred from the University of Hartford. She said she knows the cost is less here than where she came from.
“I feel I am getting more here for my money,” she said about Quinnipiac.
Determinants of tuition
Patrick Healy, senior vice president of Finance and Administration, explained that Quinnipiac compares itself with Ithaca college, Hofstra, Fairfield University and Boston University, and their tuition is considered when determining the Quinnipiac tuition.
“We do a comparative study of other colleges and universities that we have a shared applicant pool with,” said Healy. “We look at what the marketplace rate is.”
Healy explained that there are three main parts in determining the tuition. The first part contains the operating budgets, which are the collected budgets from around the university.
“People always want more than what we have in the budget,” Healy said, and explained that compromises has to be made to satisfy as many as possible.
The second determinant is the Financial Aid budget, which Healy said is a very important one, since it is closely connected to the price of tuition. If tuition goes up, more aid needs to be offered. In charge of this budget is Joan Isaac Moor, Vice President of Admissions and Financial Aid.
“She has a feel for what the price is at other schools, and we debate what we think is reasonable,” Healy said.
The third part involved is room and board, which Manuel Carreiro, Vice President and Dean of Students, is responsible for.
The budget decision
When all these things are combined into a budget suggestion, the members of the President’s Cabinet meet and discuss tuition. The process goes on from November to February, when the new prices are approved.
Healy said that tuition goes up between 3-3.5 percent every year, and he explained that some of the things that makes tuition go up are technology, books and labor costs.
“The total cost of technology has gone up tenfold in a three year period,” he said.
He explained that since more students are attending now, more computers are needed. More faculty also need to be accommodated with their own laptops.
“We’ve also done a lot of building,” he said. “We’ve built a building or two almost constantly.”
Senior OT student Lisa Werrell does not think she is getting what she paid for here at Quinnipiac.
“I think they overcharge us for all the lab fees and extra credits,” she said.
It is a fact that Quinnipiac is charging students $450 per credit if they are registered for more than 16 credits. This is upsetting to many.
“I don’t like that,” said Drolet. “I don’t think it makes any sense. I think we pay enough and we shouldn’t have to pay for that.”
Lauren O’Leary agrees.
“I think we should be allowed to take more credits for the same price,” she said. “18 would probably be a prime.”
Fortunato also complains about the extra $450 Quinnipiac charges.
“I understand that they charge extra, because we’re not paying for that, but I think the price is a little steep for taking more than 16 credits,” he said.
Carreiro offered an explanation to the extra charge.
“If you look at other schools, the typical is 15 [credits],” he said. “We moved it up to 16 and gave you an extra credit.”
18 at other schools
The statement that other schools typically charge 15 credits is, however, not true. In Connecticut, Wesleyan, Trinity, Yale, University of Hartford, St. Joseph’s college, and Sacred Heart all let their students register for at least six classes at no extra charge. This would equal to 18 credits in the QU system.
A look at some of the more famous schools like Cornell, Harvard, U-Penn and NYU shows that they all let their students take six classes or more for no extra charge.
Junior Mike O’Neill doesn’t think it is right to charge for taking more than 16 credits.
“We’re already paying so much,” he said.
However, he understands that the money needs to come from somewhere.
“You’d have to put a limit somewhere,” he said, “but they should let you take 18-20 credits.”
Always 16 at QU
Healy said that during the 30 years he has been at Quinnipiac, the limit has always been at 16 credits. He explained that the school has to hire extra faculty when students take more classes. He said that at some point there needs to be a limit.
“Probably we could make it 18, but then we would have to adjust the price of tuition,” he said.
Healy said he thinks it’s more fair to have the cost only to those who plan to take more than 16 credits, instead forcing everyone to pay extra. Most people knew about this before they came to Quinnipiac, and he said he hasn not gotten a lot of complaints.
“I haven’t had any complaints in years,” he said. “I don’t think I ever had a complaint specifically about this.”
Healy said it is not always the best students who take a heavy course load.
“Sometimes it’s also the worst students, who have neglected their course loads,” he said.
He explained that sometimes people drop a lot of classes at the beginning of their study, and when they are closer to graduating they need to take a heavy course load to be able to graduate.
Professor of Economics, Rossi Gambardella, said she’s not very familiar with the fact that the university charges extra money for taking more than 16 credits, but she said that it might be the optimal amount to insure fair academic learning.
“Maybe it’s a way for the university to discourage any unreasonable fast-track learning experiences,” she said. “I’m sure the University is run like a business, and in order for the business to fulfill its obligations to the society it needs not only meet its costs, but be profitable.”
She said being profitable insures future growth and prosperity of the university, which in turn is needed to provide students with bigger and better resources.
It might be worth mentioning that 73 percent of the college’s income is from tuition and fees. Out of all the money the college brings in (for 1999-2000 it was $127 million) 30 percent goes to instruction, 16 percent goes to student financial aid and 6 percent to student services. A lot of the money also goes to the two top highest paid people on our campus: President John Lahey, $375,000 and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Patrick Healy, $277,000. These numbers are for 1999-2000 and are the total amounts including benefits. The average salary for a private college president in 2000 was $207,130. All information is from The Chronicle of Higher Education.