Trustees Approve Increase in 2007-2008 Tuition: PA Families To See 5.5% Rise

The Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase of 5.5% for the 2007-2008 school year during its meeting at the end of January. The new boarding students’ tuition will be $37,200, and the day students’ tuition will be $29,000. The money from student tuition goes into the general operating budget revenue, which covers all of the school’s expenses. The total budget for the upcoming year is $86 million, a $5 million increase from this year. This amount is carefully determined by examining the projected expenditures. 45% of the expenses go toward faculty and staff salaries and benefits, while 15% makes up the financial aid budget. Remaining expenses include maintenance of facilities, technology and Commons services. The tuition fees are calculated into the budget to compensate for 44% of the expenses. The remaining income comes from fund-raising and the school’s $670 million endowment. Comptroller and Assistant Treasurer Elliot Hacker said, “I cannot recall a year when tuition has not increased.” An annual tuition increase is expected as the cost of living goes up, which is indicated by the rate of inflation. Expenses also continue to grow at Phillips. As health costs go up, the budget for faculty and staff health benefits also increases. Chief Financial Officer Stephen Carter said, “PA also strives to be competitive in faculty and staff salaries.” Other areas of budget increase include maintenance of facilities, improvement of food in Commons, and offering more services, such as the wireless internet now available in multiple buildings across campus. Another notable cause of expense is compensating for the recent increase in energy costs over the past few years. Regarding the tuition increase, Carter said, “We attempt to keep increase in tuition as low as possible.” The goal is to keep the tuition within the consumer price index of rate of inflation, which is projected to be 3% for the coming year. The tuition is increased at a similar rate to stay within the comfort range of families. Special Assistant to the Head of School Nancy Jeton said, “We want to be fair, but we also need to meet the needs of expenses.” In acknowledgement that not all families can afford to pay the tuition, 15% of the year’s operating budget will go to financial aid. Carter said, “We make every effort to make people aware of all the financial aid that we offer…to allow people who are admitted to come no matter their financial status.” 41% of the student population currently receives financial support, and 10% of those are on full scholarship. These scholarships are granted from a financial aid budget of $11,693,000 that will be increased to $12,810,000 for the 07-08 year. Assistant Head for Enrollment, Research and Planning and Dean of Admission Jane Fried said, “The cost of boarding education is very expensive. We try to balance the cost of tuition and the resources available to support financial aid with the socioeconomic diversity of the student body…PA is very lucky to have strong applicants in good numbers from all economic sectors.” According to Hacker, the average cost to educate a student is approximately $59,000. This amount covers academics, dining privileges, housing and furniture, physical training and athletics, and more. Fried said, “Andover’s tuition does not cover the cost of an Andover education. The full cost is supported by the school’s endowment. Consequently, one could say that all Andover students are on ‘scholarship.’ Some families pay more than others, but no family pays the full price.” Jeton said, “If you pull away from the numbers, you can think about what the school is trying to do: find youth from every quarter, make sure [Phillips Academy] is accessible to many different kinds of students, and be able to provide a robust program… A lot of thought is given to all these decisions.” Competition with other schools also factors into tuition decisions. The schools Andover compares itself to for tuition purposes are Phillips Exeter Academy, Hotchkiss School, Deerfield Academy, Lawrenceville School, St. Paul’s School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Northfield Mount Hermon School and Groton School. Jeton said, “The schools are very competitive. The goal is to stay on the lower [less-expensive] end.” For the current 06-07 year, PA was the second to least expensive school with a tuition of $35,200. Exeter was the least expensive at $34,500, while Groton’s tuition was the highest at $39,800. All of the schools have decided individually what the tuitions will be for the 07-08 year, but the information is not yet public. Carter and Jeton explained that one aspect of this caution stems from the violation of the anti-trust law in 1993. The federal government sued the Ivy League colleges and MIT for discussing their financial aid scholarships. This collaboration between schools was discouraged because it raised the possibility of collusion and price-fixing. Jeton said, “Some schools also prefer to keep that information quiet to de-emphasize that aspect of how they compete with each other for the same students.” Prep schools are currently unaware of the other tuition rates. This information will be disclosed on March 10 when the acceptance letters to prospective students are sent.