Pomona’s Tuition Will Increase by 3.5%

Pomona College will raise tuition, fees and room and board by 3.5 percent for the 2012-13 academic year, bringing the total annual cost of a Pomona education to $54,964, said Vice President and Treasurer Karen Sisson PO ’79.    

Tuition and fees will increase by 3.9 percent, while room and board will increase by 2.3 percent, a total increase of $1,854 from the current $53,110 annual cost.    

The Board of Trustees approved the increases at its February meeting, based on a report written by Sisson detailing recommendations made by the Pomona administration.

“Tuition and comprehensive fees are reviewed every year at the February or March meeting of the Board,” Sisson wrote in an e-mail to The Student Life. “In my experience, total comprehensive fees have increased annually reflecting the fact that the college’s costs also increase from year to year.”    

Last year’s tuition increase was comparable to this year’s. From the 2010-11 academic year to the 2011-12 academic year, tuition and fees increased by 3.9 percent, while room and board increased by 2.2 percent, Sisson wrote.    

Though tuition increases on a yearly basis, many students do not know why the additional money is necessary.    

“I think there should be a little more transparency about how tuition increases are used to benefit the college,” said Nick Lawson PO ’14, South Campus Representative for the Associated Students of Pomona College.   

Sisson wrote that annual increases in total cost per student are due to the rising actual cost of a Pomona education. She pointed to salaries and benefits as examples of such rising costs, given that they increase annually to reward staff and faculty for sustained employment with the college.    

“Most of a student’s Pomona experience is shaped by faculty and staff,” Sisson wrote.    

Other factors contributing to the rising actual cost of a Pomona education include facility maintenance and the implementation of new technology.     

Although tuition is rising, it plays a diminishing role in funding Pomona’s budget.    

“Because of donations and endowment revenue, tuition has, over the years, covered a decreasing portion of the budget,” said Director of Media Relations Cynthia Peters. The endowment currently covers over 45 percent of the college’s total budget.    

This week, Tuition Free Day was held to acknowledge the importance of donors, who cover a significant portion of the actual cost of a Pomona education, which is roughly $79,000 per student.    

“This is a day when we want to recognize the many donors who have given of their time and resources for decades to support Pomona,” said Director of Alumni Relations Nancy Treser-Osgood PO ’80.    

The 3.5 percent increase in comprehensive cost is not expected to affect financial aid, said Director of Financial Aid Mary Booker. Financial aid is funded in large part by donors and endowment revenue.      

“Financial aid packages adjust based on a family’s changing financial circumstances, not increases in tuition charges,” Booker said.     

Relative to peer institutions, both Pomona’s annual increase and its comprehensive fee are fairly modest, Sisson said.      

“I believe these increases put us in the lower third of our peer colleges,” she said.    

Occidental College students, for example, saw a 5 percent increase in tuition and 5.5 percent increase in room and board from 2010-11 to 2011-12. Occidental’s comprehensive fee for 2012-13 is expected to exceed $60,000, according to The Occidental Weekly.

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