The university will likely not implement a tuition freeze in the near future, university administrators said at the Hoya Roundtable on tuition rate-setting on Nov. 9.
Hoya Roundtables, organized by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, enable students and administrators to discuss issues of interest to students, according to its website. At the fall 2019 Hoya Roundtable in the Healey Family Student Center, administrators discussed how tuition is spent and future plans for setting tuition rates.
This roundtable comes after the Georgetown University Law Center Student Bar Association called for a university-wide tuition freeze in a resolution submitted to Law Center Dean William Treanor on Oct. 15. The SBA resolution was drafted to express solidarity with Georgetown undergraduate students who called for a tuition freeze in a Feb. 15 editorial in The Hoya.
The annual percent increase of total undergraduate tuition and fees has fallen since 2014, but Provost Robert Groves said he is unsure of the likelihood of a tuition freeze.
“We have seen the numbers. We are on a downward trend,” Groves said. “Whether we will ever get to frozen tuition has to do with can we raise philanthropy with such a successful level that it obviates the need to increase tuition in order to pay for the increased cost.”
While the university’s undergraduate tuition has risen for eight consecutive years, yearly tuition hikes have been decreasing. Undergraduate tuition for the 2019-20 academic year increased by 2.8%, down from the 3.5% increase enacted last year.
The board of directors meets in the winter to review the budget proposals and again in the spring to approve a budget for the following year. Once the budget is finalized, the administrators announce their tuition plan. The proposed budgets depend on the cost of resources made available to students like study abroad programs and mental health services as well as any new projects the university plans to undertake, according to Groves.
Administrators are working to make the campus more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and intend to begin with White-Gravenor Hall, according to Chief Operating Officer Geoffrey Chatas (CAS ’85).
“This is a challenging campus to navigate,” Chatas said. “We are committed to making sure we make those investments in our new buildings.”
Last November, the university announced that it was planning to construct a ramp to the front entrance of White-Gravenor, which requires the use of stairs to reach the door. The project’s design was expected to be completed by early 2019, with construction set to start in the summer of 2019. White-Gravenor already has a ramp, but it is set is at a far corner of the building and leads into the basement.
The university also plans to renovate the Village C dormitories and intramural fields within the next two summers, according to Chatas.
Georgetown’s relatively small endowment compared to peer universities complicates the university’s efforts to minimize tuition increases. Georgetown receives only 8% of its revenue from the income earned by its endowment’s investments, while other universities receive closer to 30% or 50%, according to Chatas. The endowment is used to offer students financial aid and a low endowment can necessitate higher tuition.
In an effort to increase the size of its endowment, Georgetown launched a series of fundraising campaigns in 2017. Last year was the best fundraising year the university has seen yet, according to Chatas.
The roundtable is an opportunity for the administration to attempt to be transparent with students in the tuition rate-setting process, according to Groves.
“This is a commitment on our part to try to be as transparent as we can, to give you a sense of financial structure of the university, and the role of tuition in that financial structure, and to give you a sense of how we go about trying to manage those revenues and those costs in the best way we can,” Groves said.