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Tuition, Other Expenses to Top $40,000 Next Year

By Nathan Collins

NEWS EDITOR

The estimated cost of a year at MIT will pass the $40,000 mark next year.

Tuition and fees will rise to $29,600, an increase of 4.9 percent, for the 2003-2004 academic year. Last year’s tuition was $28,230, and Student Financial Services estimated the cost of books and living expenses at about $10,830, according to their Web site.

“This year’s tuition increase enables MIT to maintain the high quality of its programs and the distinction of its faculty in a highly competitive environment,” said Dean for Undergraduate Education Robert P. Redwine in a News Office statement.

Undergraduate Association President Josiah D. Seale ’03 said that the competitiveness of MIT’s cost was an issue in the decision. “A minor difference in price can make all the difference” for a high-school student deciding between two top schools, he said.

“They’re trying to make sure they don’t throw us out of the ballpark” with an excessive increase, Seale said.

The statement focuses almost exclusively on financial aid. In the next academic year, “undergraduates receiving financial aid will have increased flexibility in choosing their student loan and term-time earnings amounts,” said Elizabeth Hicks, executive director of Student Financial Services.

Students without scholarships must contribute $5,500 in “self-help” from work-study, loans, and summer earnings in order to be eligible for financial aid.

Seale said that MIT “is trying to revamp the self-help program to a more reasonable setup” where freshmen, who have fewer marketable skills, would have to contribute less than juniors or seniors.

The release said that, because of the current economic downturn, students “will have expanded options for borrowing and working in the event they are unable to meet their expected summer earnings expectation.”

Financial aid payments will reach almost $70 million next year and almost eighty percent of undergraduates receive some form of aid, according to the statement.

Seale said he asked Provost Robert A. Brown whether a tuition increase was linked to changes in the self-help requirements and was told the two were unrelated.

Tuition and fees increases over the last ten years have typically been three and a half to six percent. This year the increase is a little more than two percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.