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MIT raised $160 million by October for the Campaign for Students.
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Tuition Rises Even as Endowment, Donations Balloon

Tuition rose by 4.1 percent last year, even as donations and the endowment increased to record numbers.

In March 2007, MIT announced that tuition would increase by 4.1 percent to $34,986. MIT’s financial aid offerings increased by 11.4 percent to $68 million. In contrast, Harvard University raised their tuition by 3.9 percent to $31,456, but revamped their entire financial aid system. Harvard is now free to families making less than $60,000 per year, and financial aid is offered to families with income up to $180,000.

MIT’s endowment had a return rate of 19.3 percent this year, boosted by investment returns of 22.1 percent. The endowment now stands at $9.98 billion, placing MIT sixth among all college endowments.

Other universities saw comparable increases in their endowments, such as Harvard (19.8 percent), Princeton University (21.0 percent), and Stanford University (21.9 percent). The highest return was at Yale University, with a whopping 28.0 percent, putting their endowment at $22.5 billion.

These enormous endowment returns combined with tuition increases prompted concerns by the Senate Finance Committee. In January 2008, the committee asked the wealthiest 136 universities for information on endowment use, tuition increases, and executive compensation.

Alongside MIT’s tuition and endowment increases, the Institute started a new donation program called the Campaign for Students. According to Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD ’75, the program is aimed at raising $500 million over the next five years, of which $200 million will support undergraduate financial aid programs and scholarships, and the remaining $300 million will be evenly divided between graduate student fellowships, student life, and student learning.

The Campaign for Students had raised $160 million by October 2007, which Clay said puts the program “ahead of schedule.”