Just months after being named one of “America’s 77 Best Value Colleges” by the Princeton Review Fairfield’s Board of Trustees approved a 5.7 percent tuition increase to bring the price of a Fairfield education to $39,330.

“I just can’t believe that I’ll be spending $160,000 for my time here,” said Rob McDonnell ’08, “I am learning a lot, but I’m going to be in debt for years to come.”

In the past the tuition hikes were introduced most heavily for freshmen and on a graduated scale with the least increase going to seniors. Vice-President of Finance William Lucas, explained that this was because the younger students would be getting more use out of the expansions put into place from the tuition increases.

The university puts a larger increase for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The reasoning behind this raise is that younger students will get more use out of capital improvements. Last year the junior and senior rates were raised $500 less than the freshmen and sophomore rates, but this year it was only seniors that got the break.

“I thought that $36,000 was high, but it would be that for the rest of my time here,” said Maura Heenan ’07, “Thank God I’m going abroad for half of the year.”

In a letter to parents, Father Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., university president, said that budgeting has been one of his top priorities.

“I appreciate the sacrifices which many have made to provide their children with a Fairfield University education,” wrote von Arx.

Von Arx cited educational programming, institutional financial aid, technology improvements, student service programming and competitive salaries for faculty and staff as the major expenses of Fairfield.

Stephen Flynn ’08 doesn’t think the math adds up.

“I can understand that tuition needs to go up at least 2 percent to cover the wage increases, but we’re raising it 6 percent. If I am paying $40,000 next year I wish that they’d at least renovate the RecPlex,” she said.

During a presentation to students in the Barone Campus Center Monday President von Arx and Lucas explained how the budget is created. A proposed budget is created by the University Budget Committee composed of faculty, administration and student representatives. The budget is then approved by the president and given to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

Tuition costs including room and board have gone up over 431 percent since Joe Hanlon ’87 and his wife graduated.

“I think it is very scary when I consider what tuition could be by the time my four and six year-olds are ready for college,” said Hanlon.

The year after year increases are not unique to Fairfield.

Boston College recently reported that their tuition is going up 6.9 percent. BC is trying to help people deal with the rising cost of tuition by allowing students to lock in today’s rate with a new program called the tuition stabilization plan.

Students entering Boston College this year that take advantage of the plan will see a zero percent increase over 4 years. Fairfield students are expected to see a 26 percent increase over the four years.

“I don’t see that (the tuition stabilization plan) as a good deal for Fairfield students because they have to pay the whole tuition up front. We’ll continue to look into it, but it is not something I imagine Fairfield will adopt,” said Lucas.

Parent and Alumnus Francis Small ’74 echoed the sentiments of many individuals The Mirror spoke with when he said, “I understand the cost of living is going up, and I am sure it costs more to educate people now than it did in the past.”

“I wish it (the tuition) hadn’t gone up so much, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting my daughter to be a part of the Fairfield community,” said Small.

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