On Saturday, March 10, the Board of Trustees voted to raise tuition by four percent for both in-state and out-of-state students for the 2012-2013 school year.
The ruling, decided by unanimous vote, means that in-state tuition costs will jump from $12,005 to $12,485, a $480 increase, and out-of-state will go up $963 from $24,082 to $25,045. Other cost hikes include a four percent rise in room costs for all housing options, and a three percent rise in board costs for all meal plan options.
“Looking at rising costs, we came to the conclusion that we didn’t have much of a choice to raise tuition,” said President Joe Urgo.
“The board saw it as a good way to balance the budget,” said Vice President for Business and Finance Tom Botzman. “The aim was to keep it affordable while also keeping a strong academic program.”
According to Botzman, the four percent raise will give the College the ability to increase the budget for financial aid and the ability to strengthen the faculty while still paying all the state-mandated costs.
Another thing the College will be able to do for the first time is give raises to faculty and staff. “The State will mandate a two percent raise, which means the pay freeze is off, so we’re hoping we can also do more,” said Urgo.
The College will also enhance Information Technology (IT) services as a result of the cost increase. Such planned updates include improving Internet speed across campus, bettering security, and updating software.
According to Urgo, the tuition hikes for the College are consistent with nationwide college tuitions. “Overall, we’ve seen a three to five percent raise across the country, and even higher in some cases,” he said.
Though the future is uncertain, Urgo claimed that he “doesn’t foresee a time when education costs aren’t going to go up. You expect a college to have the best equipment with the latest technology.”
First-year Katherine Mahoney claims she is not a fan of the cost increase, especially because she knows students who have to pay for their college education on their own. “I mean you get the good name, but it’s still a lot of money. [St. Mary’s] is already expensive compared to other Maryland universities.”