For the first time in 18 years, Grove City College has made the executive decision to have a 2.95 percent increase in their overall tuition cost. In order to offset the cost of consumable laboratory materials, the College will charge students affiliated with lab courses a $100 fee for laboratory supplies. The College will be implementing this fee in the fall of 2016, giving students enough time to process the financial increases with upcoming scheduling. Students of all majors are to be impacted by the $100 fee, through the College’s liberal arts vision, making it mandatory for each student to complete two science courses upon graduating.
According to President McNulty, there are two specific reason for the raise in lab fees. First, the consumable products affiliated with labs are of a significant expense to the College. The executive board believes that these materials ought to be paid by someone and altogether surpass the budget of what normal tuition prices cover, that being the salary of professors. Second, in terms of fairness, the lab fees mirror the principle of not charging students for the education of others. The lab fee will answers questions of impartiality, selectively targeting students who participate in labs.
Due to the increase’s premature notice, there has not been a large amount of initial feedback. McNulty desires to ensure administration, faculty and students that other departments were considered for monetary increases, which have not been pursued at this time. For example, independent studies are offered to students at no additional charge. Supplementary costs, including extra payments for professors, are paid for by the College, not students individually. McNulty states, “Affordability has taken a hit in most colleges, with the average college tuition rising 3.5 percent annually.” Grove City College strives to not lose their financial distinction by stabilizing the tuition, which they have proven successful in the last 18 years.
McNulty along with the executive board frequently reviews the budget, taking the college’s statement of affordability seriously. In order to satisfy students’ high expectations of a rich and rewarding education, engaging professors and welcoming facilities there are numerous fiscal challenges that emerge. If the College just focused on affordability, then faculty, classes and campus activities would be significantly decreased and possibly cut from the overall budget. According to McNulty, “Grove City College, from a Christian perspective, is driven toward combining affordability with academic excellence.” Such a statement has been reflected in the College’s significantly low tuition rate compared to its competitors, including private and public schools.
Lee Wishing III, Administrative Director of The Center for Vision & Values, further deliberates this concern by tapping into the College’s history. Referencing the vision of the College’s founding board of trustees, Wishing reflects upon a quote stated by Joseph Newton Pew (President of the Board of Trustees), Isaac S. Ketler (Founding President), and Samuel P. Harbison (Trustee), which can be identified on a stained glass window in Harbison Chapel. The statement reads, “We dedicate this college to the development of sound scholarship and Christian character in all aspiring youth,” Wishing confidently states that such a declaration is indicative of the trustees’ notion of providing accessible and affordable education to all aspiring youth.
“Despite the ever-present tension of providing a great education within affordable means, Grove City College from a business perspective has been and continues to be a remarkable place,” states Wishing. From Pew’s original vision of no federal funding to the current increasing inflation rates of today’s economy, the College has remained strong in its roots. Opposed to being federally funded, the College’s revenue primarily streams from fundraising and student tuition and fees. Grove City College is driven towards exposing false perceptions of value and personal validations by offering students an academic experience where the integration of faith, learning and financial practice is ever so present.
Picture found from Google images.