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MIT Raises Tuition, Decreases Self-Help

By Krista L. Niece
Associate News Editor

At a meeting of the Corporation Friday morning, MITwill publicly announce its finalized tuition plan for the 1998-99 school year.

This year's plan will include a 14 percent increase in scholarship grants, a $1,000 reduction in the minimum expected student self-help contribution, and a $950 increase in tuition.

"I'm very pleased with it,"said UA President Dedric A. Carter '98. "Across the board, we see student packages improving [at MIT's peer institutions], and we want MIT to remain competitive, not only academically, but in the kind of aid it can offer its students."

The self-help minimum amount decreased to $7,600, compared to $8,600 for 1997-98. The self-help component is the amount students are expected to provide through work, loans, or savings. Even students granted a full scholarship must pay this minimum amount. For approximately 100 families with extremely low incomes, the self-help minimum requirement will be lowered to only $4,100.

"I am particularly pleased that we have been able to reduce the self-help requirement MIT remains steadfast in its commitment to need-blind admissions and financial aid as the best way to allow the best and brightest young women and men to attend, regardless of their financial status," said President Charles M. Vest.

Fifty-six percent of MIT undergraduates qualify for financial aid. The average financial aid package this year is $21,350, including $13,850 in MIT grants. It is estimated that only about 29 percent of MIT students pay the full amount of tuition, room and board.

The median annual income for families that qualified for aid this year is $53,500. About 200 families with incomes over $100,000 are receiving aid as a result of having multiple children in college or other circumstances that qualified them for need-based aid.

MIT-based scholarship grants for 1998-99 are projected to be $30.8 million, an increase compared to the $27 million spent this year.

Tuition for the 1998-99 school year will be $24,050, a 4.1 percent increase from last year.

Despite the increase in tuition, Carter sees the sum total of the changes to the term bill as "definitely having a positive impact" on the student body as a whole. The Executive Committee of the MIT Corporation, which approved the figures on Thursday, was "clearly keeping the student foremost in their thoughts" when they structured the package, he said.

The undergraduate term bill, which includes tuition, room, and board, will be $30,800. This 3.9 percent increase over last year will be the smallest percentage increase in tuition since 1970.

Tuition covers about half of the cost to MIT of a student's education. The remainder of the cost is met by earnings from the endowment and by various gifts and grants. Tuition is one of the the primary sources of MIT's revenue, the others being federal and industrial research funds and private support, primarily gifts and investment income.

Students have mixed reaction

Marlon A. Osbourne '98, student member of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, attributes both the decrease in minimum self-help and the small increase in this year's term bill to the healthy economy.

Not all students were impressed by the idea of a "smallest increase," however.

"It's unfortunate that they raised tuition,"said David Dunmeyer G.

"I think it will bring more opportunity to a student who can't pay for [an MIT education]," said Ruilin Zhao G. However, loans, which are included in the lowered self-help contribution, only "push the problem to graduation," said Zhao.