Graduate school tuition costs to rise


Provost John Simon approved proposed tuition increases for doctoral candidates in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The new rates will go into effect in the fall semester, pending approval by the Board of Visitors during their meeting in April.

Currently, students are charged one rate for graded courses and a different rate for non-graded research courses. “The system seemed to penalize departments that had a lot of coursework for their doctorate,” said Philip Zelikow, Associate Dean of Graduate Academic Programs.

If the changes are approved, doctoral students will be charged a flat rate based on their year of study, rather than type of coursework. This change will make the tuition process similar to the way undergraduate tuition is structured — around annual fees rather than by number of credit hours.

The modifications will, however, result in a tuition increase for some students in doctoral programs.

“The tuition reform is going to affect some students negatively,” Edelson said. “[But] overall it is going to help the graduate program.”

These changes are part of the University’s new internal financial model, which was developed by University President Teresa Sullivan’s office. In May 2011, Sullivan launched the new financial model to increase the University’s efficiency through decentralizing authority, resource planning and increasing the self-reliance of University schools. The goal of this model is to create incentives for individual schools to control costs, improve productivity and enable entrepreneurial activity. The initiative is co-chaired by Provost John Simon and Pat Hogan, the executive vice president and chief operating officer.

These benefits should outweigh the potential for negatively impacting students, especially since many graduate students do not pay the entirety of their tuition, Zelikow said. If a graduate student works as a teaching assistant, the University will pay their tuition, said Assoc. History Prof. Max Edelson, director of graduate studies. But the Dean’s Office has allotted funds to support students who are negatively impacted by the change, Edelson added.

The proposed tuition changes will not affect students in master’s programs because of the limited number of MA programs and the fact that it operates under different rules, Zelikow said. “Students in a professional master’s program are in a different situation than students here to pursue a doctoral degree,” he said.

In the long run, the financial restructuring change should make the graduate school more self-supportive and help to manage the costs the University takes on by paying tuition of students. As a result, the University can become more competitive with peer institutions, Edelson said.

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