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Institute Announces 6.5% Tuition Increase

By Eric Richard
Staff Reporter

The cost of attending MIT will once again increase this year -- by 6.5 percent -- while the self-help level, which students are expected to pay before they receive financial aid, jumped 8.2 percent.

The $1,100 increase in tuition was approved on March 6 by the MIT Corporation. Tuition for the 1992-93 academic year will be $18,000.

"Right now is the time to keep the tuition increase as small as possible," said Arthur C. Smith, dean for undergraduate education and student affairs.

The increase was in line with earlier predictions made by James J. Culliton, vice president for financial operations, who felt that the administration "was going to do everything within reason to moderate tuition increases."

President Charles M. Vest explained the desires of the Corporation, saying the major issue in setting tuition was to keep the increase as small as possible while supplying sufficient additional income to enable the Institute to continue its "need-blind" admissions policy.

"The tuition increase was not as low as I hoped it would have been," said Provost Mark S. Wrighton. "We are trying to maintain a very careful balance of providing academic support which will attract large numbers of the best students in the nation, while at the same time controlling our costs so that those students can afford to come here."

"Since students are only responsible for paying approximately one half of the real expenses of attending MIT, it is still a bargain," Wrighton said.

In addition to the increase in tuition, the university's maximum self-help level was raised from $6,100 for this academic year to $6,600, an increase of 8.2 percent. This is the amount of money that students are expected to provide from loans and employment before receiving scholarship assistance from MIT.

"We realize that these are restrained times," Wrighton said. "Students and families of students here are financially restrained right now."

Stacy E. McGeever '93, Undergraduate Association president, was disappointed with the increase. "If you were to compare MIT with the Overlap schools, you would find MIT's [self-help level] is significantly higher than those schools, though their tuitions are comparable. Couple that with the fact that over the last 10 years, the number of students in lowest financial quartile has been increasing, and you have a dangerous situation."

Housing costs will on average increase 2.9 percent, while dining costs face a 6 percent hike. Overall average costs for a student are projected to rise 6 percent from $22,230 to $23,565.

Although exact figures have not been released, Wrighton said the total salary increases for Institute employees "will not be as great this year as last. Since tuition and salary are closely related, a modest increase in tuition necessitates a modest increase in salary."

Wrighton also explained that the increases in costs at MIT have not resulted in any noticeable increase in the burden on graduating students. "The percentage of the starting salary for graduating students which is being applied towards indebtedness has remained nearly a constant in past years."

McGeever questioned this reasoning, saying that loans are "more and more not deferring interest for graduate school." She also said that MIT's studies on post-graduation burdens focus on the mean students and ignore deviations or the lower brackets of a class.