UP Tuition going up to $57,540

By Clare Duffy | April 6, 2016 7:12pm

Understanding UP Tuition Raises
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Tuition at University of Portland is going up 4.4 percent this fall, bringing the cost of one semester of classes to $20,922.

Living on campus is also getting more expensive, with housing and meal plan costs going up 4.1 to 4.2 percent, depending on which meal plan a student chooses. The total price to attend UP and live on campus will reach $57,540.

Rising tuition is driven by a variety of sources, according to UP’s Vice President for Financial Affairs Alan Timmins. Program costs like increasing Health Center hours, personnel costs like salaries and hiring new positions, Oregon’s recent minimum wage increase, heightened health care and insurance costs and new software are all among the considerations that contribute to increased pressure on student (and parent) wallets.

Nearly 15 percent more students are calling The Bluff home than did just five years ago. While more students technically means more money coming into the University, Timmins said this can also contribute to the rise of tuition prices. Several factors in the tuition equation — increased need for programing in areas such as the Health Center and Recreational Services, the need to hire more professors and create new classroom space, utility and maintenance costs for new facilities like the Beauchamp Center and the new dorm — are directly related to UP’s growing student population.

“The needs of 1,000 are 10 times greater than the needs of 100 people,” Timmins said. “But there is that cliché that says trees don’t grow to the sky ... At some point, I think you’ll see a curbing of tuition prices.”

In the midst of rising cost of attendance, UP has also increased the amount of financial aid available to students.

While it is impossible to tell exactly how much financial aid will be distributed for the 2016-17 year until the freshman class is solidified and all students accept their aid awards, Timmins said the amount of available aid has risen faster than tuition.

For the 2015-16 school year, 98 percent of UP students received grants and/or scholarships covering, on average, 45-50 percent of their tuition costs. According to the most recent federal data from 2013-14, each student received on average over $20,000 in grant or scholarship aid.

While students worry about rising costs of attendance, faculty members have expressed concern with pay that generally falls below the national average.

This year’s faculty wellness survey, addressed by the Academic Senate in November, demonstrated major discontent with salaries among faculty. But Timmins said increased tuition does not necessarily correlate to higher wages for professors, rather it increases the overall budget from which to possibly offer raises.

“Compensation costs is one factor that enters into the equation (of raising tuition),” Timmins said. “People will get paid more because they are doing a better job and in response to increases in things like cost of living.”

And while students gear up for summer jobs that will help them write the big checks, Timmins said administration remains confident that students are getting what they pay for.

“UP is, has been and remains a great value. It’s a terrific education and a terrific university experience,” Timmins said. “That’s part of why it costs a lot to go here and that’s part of why we constantly work to improve the experience.”