Suffolk raises tuition for first time in two years

The Board of Trustees at Suffolk University recently approved a 3.75% increase to the undergraduate tuition. With this being the first increase undergraduate students have seen in two years, tuition will rise to $42,790 for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

President Marisa Kelly sent an email to students on Jan. 10 about the decision. She said the board kept in mind the financial commitment college is for both students and their families, especially the financial stress many have faced during the pandemic.  

“When setting tuition each year, we try to balance the need to maintain affordability with ensuring that we can invest in a Suffolk educational experience,” said Kelly. 

Formerly known as Grandfather Tuition, the Suffolk Tuition Promise program is offered to all undergraduate students who earn a 3.6 GPA or higher. Through this program, eligible students receive additional scholarships that are equivalent to the tuition increase each year, meaning the raise will not affect their bill. 

Greg Gatlin, vice president of communications at Suffolk, said the increase will help the university to maintain its financial standing amidst currently high inflation rates.

“This was always intended as a one year pause given the ongoing need to support student experience,” Gatlin said. 

Porscha Maurer, a sophomore, said she hopes to see the money from the tuition increase put toward classrooms and dorms, something that students on campus will directly be using.

“I have no clue what the money will be used for but it needs to be something that justifies the increase to every student’s tuition, otherwise it seems useless,” Maurer said.

However, Maurer is not convinced there will be many changes from the increase. 

“I don’t think that the tuition increase is beneficial to students, even if they do small renovations,” she said.

Kelly said in her email that the tuition increase was set to be as low as possible to still get the funding the university needs. While Maurer isn’t sure if it will directly benefit most students, she said the increase could be worse. 

“I would say this increase isn’t as bad as it could have been, especially since we are still in a pandemic,” said Maurer.

However, she went on to say that it could be a lot for some students who are still struggling from the pandemic. 

Junior Livia Fontaine agreed. She said she’s not sure what the tuition increase will be used for, but that the increase could be used to help professors. 

“Most of [the professors] worked throughout the entire pandemic, not to mention that most professors are part time and even have other teaching jobs, and some even run their own businesses. They worked hard during the pandemic to still provide their students with an education,” said Fontaine. 

Fontaine is one of the many students who live off campus, and with that in mind, she isn’t confident this increase will directly benefit her or any of the students not living in the dorms. 

“​​I live off campus about 15 minutes away, so I’m technically a commuter,” said Fontaine. “I don’t believe this will have a direct effect on me because of that, but it might have an effect on students who live in the dorms.”

One way that the many commuter students like Fontaine could see this increase benefit them is if it is allocated to support numerous student programs across campus. 

“The increase in tuition should go toward student funding. For example, the money we’re putting in should go to clubs and other student-run activities, especially since it is more money they are charging their students,” said Fontaine. 

Even though Fontaine expected the tuition to increase again eventually, she, like Maurer, hopes to see students receive the direct benefits of the increase they are paying in the coming year. 

The Board of Trustees, who determine all student costs, including the cost of tuition, heard recommendations from groups and committees across campus when making the decision to raise tuition. 

“Most significantly, the recommendations are informed by the review of the Budget Advisory Committee, which includes the president of each of the three student government organizations, faculty representatives and staff representatives,” said Gatlin. 

As Maurer mentioned, she and most students across campus are not aware of what the tuition increase money will be used for in the coming year. However, Gatlin said the increase will help support the university’s entire budget. 

“Student charges represent approximately 85% of the university’s operating revenues,” said Gatlin. 

Despite the increase, the university is increasing its financial support for students in other areas, Gatlin said. 

“The Board of Trustees voted in FY19 on an initiative to increase scholarship aid in order to provide greater support to Suffolk students. This commitment will continue next year and into the future,” said Gatlin.