“Would it be such a bad thing if we weren’t the most expensive college in the country?” Luis Viornery HM ’18 said, when he heard news of Harvey Mudd College’s decision to raise its tuition this year.
Since 2012, the cost of tuition at HMC has increased by over $8,000. This year’s $2,015 increase from the prior year’s $50,368 is demonstrative of the larger trend of tuition increases taking places at private colleges and universities across the country.
Tuition will cost $52,383 for the 2016-2017 school year, according to Thyra Briggs, HMC’s Vice President for Admission and Student Affairs.
In an email to TSL, Briggs wrote that the reasons for the tuition hikes include “provid[ing] necessary new facilities;” increasing costs for old facilities; increasing costs in order to comply with legal regulation such as the Cleary Act, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and security regulations like FERPA; allocating additional resources to academic and student affairs; providing new faculty with research money; and raising employee salaries.
According to Briggs, the decision to raise the tuition was ultimately made by the Board of Trustees of the College, as is common among private colleges.
Although Briggs wrote that “any increase in the cost of tuition means that students who continue to demonstrate need will also see an increase in their financial aid awards,” students worried about how the change in tuition could affect them and their families.
“The tuition does not impact me directly because I receive a scholarship that covers tuition, but I have very close friends who have to continue making financial sacrifices just to make ends meet,” Viviana Bermudez HM ’18 said. “I’m not sure what Admissions is doing to balance out the rising tuition, but I do hope that prospective students really look into what they can afford, what scholarships they can apply to, and how to pay off Mudd.”
Adrian Garcia HM ’20 was similarly concerned.
“I mean I guess I understand that they’re increasing it so that they could expand. In my opinion, it seems like a good reason to raise tuition,” Garcia said. “Honestly, I can’t really afford to put a great amount of money into college, I’m not entirely sure of family’s financial situation right now so I think that I would have to set even more time aside searching for scholarships. Sadly though, it might make this college a little more exclusive since some accepted applicants might not be able to afford the tuition.”
Briggs wrote that the tuition increase would not impact low-income students because HMC pledges to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need, so financial aid awards will increase as tuition increases.
Viornery has a different view of the tuition increase.
“I have a small problem with paying for Mudd’s continued marketing/rebranding process, but that’s a separate discussion,” Viornery said.
Viornery said that he thinks future students should not have to face tuition increases that are higher than the rate of inflation.