Tuition for Homewood undergraduates, all Ph.D. candidates and many other full-time Hopkins students will increase 4.5 percent this fall, the lowest percentage hike since the 1989-90 academic year.
The increase of $980 will take the university's benchmark tuition from the current $21,700 to a 1998-99 rate of $22,680. The board of trustees approved the increase at its February meeting.
The hike is the second straight to fall significantly below 5 percent after seven consecutive tuition increases at or above that level.
Hopkins originally had planned at least two additional years of 5 percent increases. But the university scaled back those increases last year after discussions among President William R. Brody, the deans and trustees on the rising "net cost" of a college education. Net cost is the difference between the tuition "sticker price" and available financial aid dollars for those who need them.
Provost Steven Knapp told the trustees before their Feb. 10 vote that net cost remains a concern that the university is attacking on several fronts.
"We are taking a number of steps to reduce the burden on students and their families," Knapp said.
Besides holding down the rate of tuition increase, he said, Hopkins will soon introduce a new loan program for middle income students and is seeking gifts of endowment to support increased financial aid for students at all income levels. Increasing financial aid is one of the university-wide priorities that have emerged in a recent review of the university's fund-raising goals, Knapp told the trustees.
Since federal antitrust law prohibits universities from exchanging advance information on tuition, it is not yet clear how the university's 1998-99 tuition will compare to charges at comparable universities. This year, however, Hopkins tuition is anywhere from about $200 to about $1,400 lower than all eight Ivy League schools, the University of Chicago, Duke, MIT and Brandeis.
Besides Homewood undergrads, the new $22,680 benchmark tuition will apply also to full-time graduate students in Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Public Health, doctoral students at SAIS, doctoral and some master's degree students at Nursing and Ph.D. students in Medicine.
M.D. students at the School of Medicine pay the same tuition in each of their four years; the rate for entering students will be $25,000, up 5 percent.
Next year's tuition increases in other full-time degree programs range from a low of 2.9 percent, to $21,200, for master's degree students at SAIS, to a high of 4.7 percent, to $20,700, for all students at Peabody. The Peabody increase is down from 5.7 percent this year.
Tuition for part-time Continuing Studies master's degree courses in liberal arts and education in Washington, D.C., will remain at this year's level, $315 a credit hour. There will also be no increase in the $395 per credit hour tuition for business courses at the Columbia Center.
The largest percentage increases in part-time tuition are in Arts and Sciences, where humanities courses will increase 7.2 percent to $1,340 and science courses will go up 7.5 percent to $1,500.