By Emma McGrath, News Correspondent
Undergraduate tuition costs at Northeastern will rise by 4.3 percent next year, up to $42,534, according to an email sent to the university community on Monday.
The email, signed by Provost Stephen Director and Chief Financial Officer Thomas Nedell, contained details of the university’s upcoming financial plans, including an operating budget of $1.034 billion and the promise of $221.4 million in grant aid.
The budget update cited plans to invest in new research capabilities, namely the construction of a new $225 million science and engineering center, and a $50 million marine science center in Nahant.
The tuition hike for fiscal year 2015 is higher than in years past. In fiscal year 2014, tuition rose by 3.7 percent; in 2013 and 2012, the rate increased by 3.9 percent. Additionally, tuition costs this year have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation.
University spokeswoman Renata Nyul said that rather than freezing tuition — keeping it at the same level for the entirety of a student’s academic career — Northeastern has chosen to raise tuition in tandem with financial assistance.
“Tuition freezes hold down the cost for full-payers, who often are those students least in need of financial aid,” Nyul said, adding that more tuition revenue means more money for the neediest students.
But despite reassurances from the administration, many students felt the tuition hikes were unnecessary and unfair.
Ben Faucher, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said although he wasn’t surprised by the price increase, he wishes the funds were going toward more meaningful projects.
“It feels like they’re not putting any of the new money into making the quality of the classes better,” he said, even as “they’re spending plenty of money on vanity projects” like the science center and recently renovated Snell Library.
Karolina Chorvath, a sophomore journalism student, agreed that although she has had “fantastic professors,” she does not feel the education she receives at Northeastern is worth the price tag.
“It’s driven me to highly consider transferring,” she said.
Concern has been even greater among international students, who make up 30 percent of Northeastern’s enrollment. Most of them receive no aid from Northeastern and do not qualify for federal grants.
Neiha Lasharie, a freshman international affairs major from the United Arab Emirates, said that although her family does not discuss it with her, she knows how difficult it is for them to keep up with rising tuition costs.
“A 4.3 percent increase is painful,” she said. “There’s only so many corners that can be cut.”
Lasharie added that the portrait of the international student — wealthy, cosmopolitan, and supported wholly by their parents — is not always an accurate one.
“I know I’m not the only kid from a middle class family that crossed a couple oceans to be here,” she said.
Kaoru Inoue, a sophomore international affairs major from Japan, said her non-citizen status greatly hinders her ability to make money in the US.
“We can’t work off campus, and the work that we do on campus is limited to 20 hours a week,” she said. “Raising the tuition is definitely making it harder to save up for the future.”
Last year, a report from the US Department of Education said Northeastern’s average net price was the highest among its Massachusetts cohorts, beating Harvard University, Tufts University, Boston College, Boston University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The same report said Northeastern families take out more federal loans than families at other area schools.
In response to this, Nyul said that Northeastern’s endowment is modest relative to its peer institutions, and that when it comes to financial aid, “we still have more to do.”
For Lasharie and thousands of others like her, change can’t come soon enough.
“I love this school and the opportunities it affords me,” she said. “I just wish I was able to afford it myself.”