Georgetown University announced its decision to increase the annual undergraduate tuition rate by 4.9% for the 2023-2024 academic year, the second increase in the last two years.
In 2022, the tuition increased by 3.5% from the previous school year. Georgetown’s announcement coincides with hundreds of college students’ protests at the U.S. Supreme Court to pass President Biden’s student loan forgiveness legislation.
“The tuition rate reflects a balanced approach to managing rising costs, as well as providing the resources needed for academic and student priorities, new programs and initiatives, and our commitment to minimizing add-on fees,” Provost Robert Groves wrote in a Feb. 21 email to undergraduate students.
Groves said the university will continue to meet the financial needs of all of its students by increasing funds as tuition increases, citing Georgetown’s record-high financial aid budget of $264 million for the 2022-2023 academic year as evidence.
“The university will continue to consider adjustments to financial aid packages when alerted to new family circumstances and to recruit deserving students regardless of their ability to pay,” Groves wrote.
Georgetown based their decision on several different factors, according to a university spokesperson.
“There are a variety of factors taken into consideration in setting tuition rates, including the costs of delivering a high-quality education, available sources of financial aid, projected costs for competitive faculty and staff salaries, student services, technology upgrades, maintenance and improvements to campus facilities, and national price inflation and cost of goods,” a spokesperson wrote to The Hoya.
Shelby Powell (SFS ’26) said she believed the university’s explanation of the causes of the tuition increase was too vague.
“It’s just a blanket statement,” Powell told the Hoya. “It doesn’t really explain the specifics of what’s getting more expensive, but I’m assuming it’s partially because of inflation.”
Powell receives financial aid to cover two-thirds of her tuition, but her family pays the other third. She and her family are worried about whether the same fraction of her tuition will be covered by aid next year, even though the university has pledged to continue giving out aid as needed.
“It’s kind of uncertain if the aid I’m going to get is going to be proportional to the higher tuition,” Powell said. “Tuition might be increasing — but my mom’s salary is not increasing, so we still can’t pay more.”
Moira Fitzgibbons (CAS ’91), a professor at Marist College and a long-time donor to Georgetown, has two daughters who currently attend the university.
Fitzgibbons said the increase is substantial, but is a logical decision overall.
“It’s a rather large increase,” Fitzgibbons told The Hoya. “But Georgetown has done a good job of supporting its university students. And as a faculty member at a college, I understand people need to get paid.”
The tuition expenses for the 2021-2022 fiscal year were primarily distributed to instruction — 30% funded professor’s salaries and other class-related programs — followed closely by financial aid at 19.5%, according to the email. The rest of the expenses went toward building maintenance and IT, research and academic and support staff.
Fitzgibbons said that the tuition price and the amount of financial aid given out should stay at the same proportion in order to ensure Georgetown does not exclude students of lower income backgrounds.
“My priority as a member of the Georgetown community is always to be a part of the conversation on what is happening to recruit underrepresented communities to Georgetown — especially underrepresented financial students — so that it doesn’t become a homogeneous country club,” Fitzgibbons said. “If it does, it would lose outside perspectives. It’s important to make sure the tuition price doesn’t scare people off from applying.”
MJ Morales (SFS ’26) is a Coca-Cola scholar and has a full scholarship to Georgetown that remains covered by the tuition increase.
Morales said that she thinks the tuition increase is justified if it goes toward improving undergraduate students’ day-to-day living.
“Georgetown has its fair share of housing problems,” Morales said. “Our hot water goes out a little too often. If the extra tuition is going to be put toward something like that, then I guess I wouldn’t mind it. But I can’t imagine a 5% tuition increase is going exclusively to that.”
Morales said the university administration should have conversations with its tuition payers before finalizing future tuition changes.
“I’m not saying there should be a forum with all thousands of the kids that go to the school and their parents, but there should be more transparency about what the needs of the school are and where tuition would be allocated towards with this increase,” Morales said. “And then gain people’s perspectives on it, as opposed to just sending an email out telling you that your bill is going to get bigger next year.”
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