A new five-year financial plan including provisions for renovations to campus buildings and an increase in financial aid received approval from Georgetown University’s Board of Directors at its winter meeting last week, as well as an additional natural science requirement for undergraduate students and a new certificate in Catholic clinical ethics.
Under the new financial plan, financial aid is expected to increase to $209 million dollars in fiscal year 2019, when the plan takes effect. Rachel Pugh, senior director for strategic communications, said the university is committed to providing educational opportunities to students regardless of their financial situations.
The new financial plan embodies the board’s dedication to expanding access to a Georgetown education and strengthening the university’s competiveness, according to a Feb. 15 news release.
“We are actively working to minimize tuition increases, and we maintain our deep commitment to attracting the brightest students regardless of their financial circumstances,” Pugh wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Undergraduate tuition increased to $53,520 for the 2018-2019 school year — a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year — the university announced last month.
According to Pugh, the funds for the increased financial aid included in the five-year plan will come from donations and Georgetown’s endowment.
“The increase in financial aid in the plan is covered by both increasing in philanthropic dollars, both current use and projected payout on endowments and other unrestricted sources of revenue,” Pugh wrote.
New cost-cutting measures will minimize tuition increases, according to the news release. These measures include reducing travel costs, renegotiating office supply and copying agreements and implementing a new one-year waiting period for new employees to receive matching contributions from the university to their retirement funds.
The board also discussed a plan to improve access to mental health resources for Georgetown students, according to Pugh. It is exploring a potential collaboration with MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to make more psychologists and therapists available to students.
A new science requirement for undergraduate students also received approval at the meeting. Students in all four undergraduate schools will have to complete a natural science course, beginning with students entering in the fall of 2019. A course in biology, chemistry, physics, cognitive science or neuroscience would fulfill the requirement, as would interdisciplinary classes like environmental science.
The university’s financial plan for fiscal years 2019 to 2022 also includes provisions for renovations for 19 apartments in Alumni Square. The board also continued to explore repairs for Kehoe Field. Pugh said the new financial plan will increase campus facility renovations.
“We are looking to dedicate a higher level of annual spending in this plan towards renovations and repair of our existing facilities, including residence halls,” Pugh wrote.
Ricardo Mondolfi (SFS ’19), a Georgetown University Student Association representative to the Board of Directors, said GUSA continued to push for Henle Village renovations in the board’s meeting. Though the board did not approve renovations for Henle, Mondolfi emphasized the need for students to advocate for the renovations they want in order to push those renovations to the top of the list of potential projects.
“What we need to do as students, as GUSA, is making sure that we are continuing to lobby for the spaces we want to see renovated first,” Mondolfi said in an interview with The Hoya.
Pugh said the funding for these new renovations will come from the university’s cash flow and the savings it will accumulate over the next five years.
“The funding for these projects comes from our operating cash flow and increased savings over the life of the plan,” Pugh wrote.
The board also approved a new Catholic Clinical Ethics certificate and master’s program. Georgetown University School of Medicine will offer the certificate in the fall in collaboration with the Catholic University of America and the Catholic Health Association. The new certificate was created to address moral medical issues and Catholic ethical challenges in health care, according to the news release.
The certificate will combine Catholic ethics with traditional clinical bioethics to better prepare students to work in Catholic hospitals, according to Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at the Georgetown University Medical Center.
“[The certificate and degree program] will provide a unique education, balancing clinical bioethics with a strong foundation in traditional Catholic ethics,” Donovan wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Those receiving this training will be prepared for various leadership roles in both Catholic and secular health care institutions.”