Johns Hopkins Gazette | March 2, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 2, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 24
Undergrad Tuition to Rise 3.8 Percent Next Year

Increase for schools of Arts and Sciences, Engineering is smallest in 35 years

By Dennis O'Shea

Tuition for full-time undergraduates at The Johns Hopkins University will increase 3.8 percent next fall, the smallest percentage growth in 35 years for the university's two largest undergraduate schools.

The $1,450 increase will bring tuition to $39,150 for the more than 4,700 full-time undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering. The percentage increase is the smallest since the 1974-75 academic year.

The 3.8 percent increase also applies to students in the university's two smaller undergraduate schools. It will be the lowest in 10 years in the School of Nursing's traditional program, bringing tuition for more than 350 undergraduates there to $31,920, an increase of $1,176. Next year's tuition for more than 300 undergraduate musicians at the Peabody Conservatory will be $34,270, an increase of $1,270, the lowest percentage increase in at least 31 years.

All four schools, keenly aware of added financial pressure on students and families in a time of recession, have sought to minimize the tuition increase, cutting their budgets in many areas while increasing undergraduate financial aid, the schools' deans said. As a whole, the university has frozen hiring and will impose a yearlong salary freeze starting July 1. University executive officers, including divisional deans and vice presidents, are voluntarily reducing compensation by 5 percent on July 1; much of the savings will be directed to undergraduate financial aid.

"The recession has made this a more difficult time for our undergraduate students and their families, even some who do not qualify for financial aid," said William R. Brody, president of the university. "Johns Hopkins is responding. Even though they were already facing extremely tight budgets, our deans and their schools have worked very hard to trim expenses and postpone projects so that we can hold next year's tuition increase to the minimum amount possible."

In addition to the universitywide pay and hiring freezes, individual schools are choosing to adopt measures such as departmental operating budget cuts or freezes, cuts in services, postponement of renovation projects and adoption of new money-saving energy conservation programs, said Deans Adam Falk of Arts and Sciences, Nicholas Jones of Engineering and Martha Hill of Nursing, and Director Jeffrey Sharkey of the Peabody Institute.

At the same time, however, the schools face severe challenges in other budget revenue areas besides tuition. They expect declines in investment income over the next few years because of the stock market decline. They are coping with cutbacks of 15 percent this year in Maryland's state funding program for independent higher education, with cuts possible again next year. The schools also face continued uncertainty in federal research funding and philanthropy. Like most employers, Johns Hopkins also must pay more costly employee health benefits and higher utility and technology costs.

"We know that these are very difficult times for our families," Falk said, "and we have gone to enormous lengths to restrain spending and hold down tuition for next year. But one thing we will not cut back is the quality of a Johns Hopkins education. The tuition approved by the trustees ensures that we can maintain that quality."

Vincent Amoroso, director of the Office of Student Financial Services at the university's Homewood campus, said that students' eligibility for financial aid would increase with the adjusted tuition rates. For many undergraduates, he said, financial aid cuts the actual cost of attending Johns Hopkins to well below the "sticker price."

"This year, about 39 percent of Homewood undergraduates received need-based grants from university sources, averaging $27,350 per student and totaling almost $48 million," Amoroso said.

The deans said they believe that the recession and increased unemployment will change the financial circumstances of some undergraduate students and their families, requiring additional financial aid resources.

"One of our top priorities is to help, to the extent that our resources allow, our returning students and their families cope with new financial difficulties," Jones said. Additional financial aid remains one of the university's highest fund-raising priorities.

At the School of Nursing, Hill said, "Affordability is a critical issue for our school, where nearly three-quarters of our undergraduates are on some form of financial aid. More than 80 percent already have a first bachelor's degree in another field, so most have considerable student loan debt by the time they graduate as nurses," she said. "We work very hard to keep our tuition rate within the reach of our students, and this year's relatively small increase in a tough economic environment reflects that philosophy."

At Peabody, Sharkey said, "We have always known that music students face more of a struggle to pay for their education and are doing everything we can this year to keep our costs down and our financial aid up. We believe the quality of our education in music at Peabody to be among the best in the world and are dedicated to maintaining that quality into the future," he said.

Room and board charges for the upcoming year for Krieger and Whiting students at the Homewood campus will increase 4 percent, from $6,616 to $6,882 for a typical residence hall room and from $4,960 to $5,158 for the "anytime dining" meal plan.

Tuition increases for next year in the university's graduate and doctoral programs vary, mostly in the range of about 4 percent to about 6 percent.

For a complete listing of 2009-2010 Johns Hopkins undergraduate and graduate tuition rates, go to: and click on "JHU Facts and Stats."


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