Emerson weighs cost of #039;09-#039;10 tuition increase

Many local colleges, including Emerson, have coped with the economic recession by reinforcing financial aid, reducing tuition increases, or both.

President Jacqueline Liebergott announced in December that the college would be transferring $500,000 from the budget to use for this and next year’s scholarships and that the college’s finances were sound. The school has not made any changes to its own finances or that of students since then. Vice President of Public Affairs David Rosen said decisions about tuition and a budget for the next fiscal year will be decided on March 20 by the college’s Board of Trustees.

Sophomore Will Cafasso said he hopes the board will not raise tuition for next year.

“It doesn’t make sense for the tuition to be going up when the economy’s going down,” the digital post-production major said. “I’m still paying upwards of $40,000 a year.”

In February, Northeastern University increased financial help for students in an announcement by President Joseph Aoun about the university’s new Double Husky scholarship. The scholarship will give graduating students and recent grads a 25 percent tuition reduction for master’s programs and career advancement, according to the school’s Web site.

Greg Burud, an Emerson freshman whose brother attends Northeastern, said he was intrigued by the new scholarship program.

“If they still want to maintain the same opportunities for kids, they should definitely lower tuition,” Burud, a broadcast journalism major, said of other schools.

Simmons College, meanwhile, has taken steps to improve its finances by making budget reductions, establishing a hiring and pay increase freeze and creating a budget process for any expenses more than $5,000, said Director of College Communications Allyson Irish.

“Simmons has worked very hard these past few months to conserve cash and spend resources wisely in light of the worldwide economic crisis,” Irish wrote in an e-mail to iThe Beacon/i.

Irish also said Simmons has not made any announcements about tuition for the next school year.

In September, Boston University announced a hiring freeze that is still in effect, said Colin Riley, executive director of media relations. Riley said the current budget is balanced and that the budget for 2009-2010, due to be released this summer, will include more financial aid.

“We’re certainly projecting an increase in financial need and we plan on meeting that need,” he said in a telephone interview with The Beacon. “We certainly recognize the economic situation.”

Other colleges across America are also putting plans in place to aid their students. Dartmouth College eliminated tuition for students with family incomes lower than $75,000 and Yale University will not require students with a family income of less than $60,000 to make payments next fall, according to both schools’ Web sites.

Emerson students interviewed agreed that schools should be doing more to help financially-stressed students.

“Schools everywhere should be doing more,” said Louis Waxman, a freshman writing, literature and publishing major. “More scholarships and financial aid would ease the financial burden.”