University to increase tuition cost by 2-3 percent in 2022-23

Gas prices and grocery costs are growing rapidly, now you can add tuition to the list. Students face between a two and three percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the upcoming 2022 – 2023 academic year, according to Karen LeVeque, director of student services in the Office of Financial Aid. DePaul’s Board of Trustees and Chief Financial Officer Sherri Sidler collectively determined and released the new rates on April 1. 

An institutional-wide tuition increase will be in effect by the start of fall quarter. Many current students are yet to experience this price growth since the university froze tuition costs for students during the 2020-21 school year. The only colleges with raised prices during the 2021-22  school year were the School of Music, The Theatre School and the College of Law. 

In an effort to offset this increase, DePaul planned to allocate $282 million in financial aid to provide to students for the 2022-23 academic year. This is a three percent increase since this past academic year, according to DePaul spokesperson Kristin Mathews.. 

“DePaul’s tuition rate increases are on par or lower than peer institutions,” Mathews said.  “The university strives to keep tuition affordable through its budgeting process and by raising funds for scholarships and other student uses.”

Many colleges throughout Chicago are also seeing an increase in tuition cost for the upcoming academic year.. On January 12, Loyola University Chicago announced a 3.65 percent increase in undergraduate tuition and a 3.3 percent increase in meal plan prices for the 2022-2023 academic year, according to the Office of the President at Loyola. This expanded their annual cost by approximately $1,690. 

After freezing tuition for two consecutive years, the Columbia College Chicago Board of Trustees approved a 10 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for the fall. 

The University of Illinois in Chicago raised tuition for the second time in the last eight years. The increase is just under 2 percent for incoming in-state freshmen. At The University of Chicago, undergraduate tuition increased by 4.96 and housing rates by 4.72 percent. Their total annual tuition and fees now add up to $65,330. 

Robert Kallen, a former clinical professor of economics at DePaul University, said due to the large demand of prospective students interested in attending their institutions, universities were in an enviable position up until 2020. This is a result of the decrease in applicants over the past couple of years, Kallen said.

“There were more applicants than there were seats, and it was a nice model,” Kallen said. “Obviously, the pandemic hit and enrollments are down. Universities are now struggling with what the correct price point [is when] moving forward.”

He noted universities tend to deal with determining financial help for students in different ways.

“Some universities are very adept as far as figuring out what your parent’s income is or what you’re willing to pay, and they’re able to charge full bulk,” Kallen said. “Other universities are saying, ‘Okay we’ve been able to segment the market, and we feel you can pay this much.’” 

The return of tuition increases appears to be a trend nationwide this year. A handful of public and private universities in all regions of the country chose to announce the new rates for the upcoming academic year, according to NBC News

These universities’ explanations behind the financial decisions varied. Some cited in official announcements that the university needed higher tuition to pay for higher employee income, inflation, new infrastructure and the decline in student enrollment since the pandemic.  

Students like Cindy Rocha, first generation Latina student and junior at DePaul, said she felt she is already under enough financial pressure with the effects of the ongoing pandemic and high inflation rates. Rocha said pursuing higher education is continuing to become more and more classist as tuition costs increase. 

“I know it doesn’t look like a lot on paper, but that [tuition increase] is going to impact our finances so much,” Rocha said. “I had to take out more loans for this year than I had for the other two combined. My mother is struggling with her health. My father has to work overtime to keep everything afloat.”

Rocha held the position of Executive Vice President of Student Affairs for DePaul’s Student Government Association from May 2021 to March 2022. She said after hearing many students’ financial stories she worried about how this new tuition rate could affect people with lower income and international students’ ability to attend DePaul this upcoming academic year.

“Where is justice?” Rocha said. “In a school that’s founded in justice and founded in social justice, where is that awareness? What must be done? Maybe the answer to that is looking at your community and making things more adjustable for them.” 

Students facing difficult financial circumstances related to Covid or other issues are encouraged by DePaul’s Office of Financial Aid to reach out directly to the department for appropriate appeal guidance based on their situation.