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University of RochesterCan you say sticker shock?

University of Rochester announced what it will cost undergraduates to attend next academic year. Tuition, room and board will be $59,788. That’s a 60 percent jump over the cost to attend 10 years ago. If UR had pegged tuition to inflation, tuition, room and board would be more like $46,000 today.

Apparently, UR is consciously slowing the rate of increases. Tuition is going up 3.5 percent at UR. Last year’s 3.9 percent hike was touted as the lowest in a decade. This follows a trend nationwide among private and public colleges.

The College Board reports only about one-third of students pay the full price, with no financial aid. The College report expressed concern government aid is not keeping up with increases in prices for many students. What’s more, when adjusted for inflation, family incomes have declined over the past decade.

Some argue sticker prices are not a reason for concern, as there’s a lot of help for lower-income students. Others argue colleges have not been spending tuition money wisely.

Despite the tremendous cost, students and families are still making the college investment, even if it means going into steep debt. The payoff for having a college degree is still there. Pew Research found college graduates between the ages of 25 and 32 earn $17,500 more than those with only a high school degree.



Links of the Day:


– The Democrat and Chronicle did a great story on the madness of busing kids to school, all in the name of “school choice.” The process is futile, because virtually all of the schools have high concentrations of poverty. Furthermore, parents are now using school choice as a means to prevent their children from having to walk to school. All of this is costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars, while polluting the air and costing children precious time they could use for studying, play and activities. Parents also can’t make it into school for conferences and other events.

(I walked to School #7 with every other kid in the neighborhood. We walked by ourselves through rain, sleet and snow. It was a great experience.)

– I’m guessing this is what we can expect from the Seneca Nation in Monroe County: A “middling casino” like the one they built in Buffalo that doesn’t live up to its promises.

– Police store data from license plate scanners, including your whereabouts. An Onondaga Sheriff’s deputy said, “I can see how it would be creepy…”

– Are dog parks safe for dogs? A Syracuse woman’s dog was killed.

– The Syracuse University basketball team is worth $21 million, up 10 percent over last year.

– When streets had life. Remembering Rochester’s Front Street.

15 Responses to UR Tuition, Room & Board Nearing $60,000

  1. March 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm lellingw responds:

    Why raise tuition for September when money people have saved and planned for is already set?
    As for criticizing parents for using busing to getting their children to school, suburban kids rarely have to walk very far and parents would be up in arms if they had to. Walk in their shoes, shootings happen in the city almost everyday and that is the worst that can happen, many more things can happen to a child walking to school and there is much they can experience. I didn’t know about it until I was helping a parent sign her kids up for school and she told me why she wanted to send them far from their neighborhood school. No matter what, poverty stricken parents and those who live in the city end up being ripped apart and being criticized for suburbanites take for granted. Many want the best for their kids and feel helpless because they have to send their kids to city schools due to lack of housing possibilities in the suburbs. Life sucks.

  2. March 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm Orielly responds:

    The cost increase at the UR is ridiculous. Additionally the UR over the 10yr period has had at least 500M of taxpayer funding for various projects.

    The UR also offers no tuition or admission breaks for Rochester area students who’s parents pay taxes to support the UR with the infrastructure the UR uses daily for free.

    But worse yet is value. What is it that a 240K 4yr undergrad degree at the UR gets you vs the same degree at Geneseo or Brockport for 60K over 4yrs? What exactly do you get for the 180K additional money spent with a UR degree? That value differential has never been defined.

    • I work for UR and happen to know how much the University pays in both city and county property taxes each year, and it is a significant amount. These taxes support the infrastructure to which you refer.

      The above notwithstanding, I agree that the tuition trend at both public and private universities is ridiculous.

      • March 24, 2014 at 9:12 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

        U of R pays ZERO in property taxes. It’s a nonprofit.

        U of R does pay the city a couple hundred thousand – if that – in fees. Nothing compared to the deal Syracuse brokered with SU.

  3. March 23, 2014 at 8:21 pm Edward Richards responds:

    Only in the New New York. Where hard earned money $$$$ is no object. It’s not game changing.

    It’s just more of the same.

  4. March 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm Sarah J responds:

    @Orielly – The UR offers a $25K scholarship to all RCSD students who are accepted (still a pittance compared to the total cost) and if they graduate with an International Baccalaureate diploma from Wilson Commencement they get free tuition (but not room and board). Also, Suny Brockport isn’t $15K a year, it is $20K all-in. I know, my daughter goes there even though she was accepted at numerous UR peers. We just couldn’t afford them. Can barely afford Bport!

  5. March 23, 2014 at 10:20 pm Orielly responds:

    Thank you.

    I am aware of the UR’s selection of some students to get a break if you live in the city, if you get accepted etc. Very selective who they give breaks to based on who they think need the breaks.

    Most of the funding for the UR’s infrastructure comes far and away from county wide taxpayers and has for decades. For them there is not break as the live on the wrong side on a line.

    The UR is like so many other colleges who accept foreign students over local kids who’s parents, grandparents, and extended families have supported the UR for over 100yrs. The well being of this country apparently matters little to many US colleges.

    Its high time that non profit colleges who pay no property tax take care of the people first, who have made them what they are today. Or pay property tax and income tax and don’t demand our tax dollars for various ‘Wants’.

    Wegmans pays for infrastructure improvements around their stores and headquarters. So should the UR.

  6. March 24, 2014 at 8:16 am PJ Birkman responds:

    Yes Orielly it sure sucks having to struggle to access a quality education based simply on living on the wrong side of the city/suburb line…

  7. March 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm Orielly responds:

    The UR is not a non-profit. Oh I know it is and is defined as such, but they clearly run a profit making company. They just move the “left over” money into a different pot at the end of the year.

    Yes PJ it does “suck” to be paying the most via property taxes to support the UR but then to be excluded when they decide what area residents they are going to give a “break” to.

    And as far as being on the “wrong” side of the line… I am all in favor of Vouchers, where a student can use the money allocated by govt and make their own education choice to go anywhere they are accepted for admission and continue to be educated, as long as they stay within behavior and education advancement guidelines set by the school they attend.

    And you? Do you support vouchers? Or do you support the current NYSTU and RCSD Mgt, the Obama Admin. and the New NYC mayor who want to keep urban kids imprisoned in the failing, unsafe schools they are forced to attend today? All for the good of the revenue stream / political power of Teachers union and RCSD management.

  8. March 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm FourKidsInPrivateCollege responds:

    This is what soaking the rich looks like in practice. Net costs have been fairly stable (as the College Board report shows). But raising prices while raising aid is the only way to go if you want to target the rich, as these schools increasingly want to do. Published tuition rates don’t matter to the average family, who pay net cost rather than nominal price.

    To see what the alternative looks like in action, check out Hillsdale College’s website. Hillsdale is obviously extreme, having foregone all federal money (not just aid money but research money as well), yet they are much cheaper than U of R at sticker price, and also cheaper on net cost for most students.

    For a less extreme example closer to home, look at Clarkson University. A solid school with a far-reaching reputation, yet lower sticker price and higher grants to middle class families means shaving about $15,000 per year off of the net UofR cost (based on side by side offers in recent years).

    UofR doesn’t have to be so expensive, they choose to be so expensive. Other schools choose differently.

    When you are sending your children off to school, just remember that the attitudes that the school expresses toward you, the parents of their students, are reflected in the classroom just as much as they are reflected in the net cost. If the school doesn’t respect you on price, then they won’t respect you in their teaching either.

  9. What is it that is driving the tuition up at colleges? Has anyone ever really said what it is?

    Maybe tuition would stop increasing if people couldn’t so easily obtain loans and grants from the government to go to school and stopped going. I wish my mortgage had the same rules as a student loan, what a world that’d be!

    Sarah J, aren’t the U of R grants for city kids tied to income? I believe middle class kids get the proverbial shaft. Too “rich” to qualify for help, but too “poor” to really afford U of R without help.

    • March 24, 2014 at 10:26 pm Sarah J responds:

      RIT has an income limit of approximately $60K for a family of four for their RCSD grants. UR does not have an income limit.

      • March 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm Sarah J responds:

        @Bill – Yes, part of the reason every college, including the notorious for-profit schools, continue to increase rates is that the public guarantees the cost. Look at the default rate for student loans of accredited colleges and for-profit schools. The for-profits have ~15% of students, or thereabouts, and ~40% of defaulted loans.

  10. March 25, 2014 at 6:39 am Orielly responds:

    RIT and I believe the UR recently took away their free tuition to children of staff provision. Making their employees pay the equivalent of State School tuition (why they choose that dollar / tuition rate is rather strange. Whats that rate have to do with cost to educate ?)

    One can understand why the UR suddenly spends hundredss of thousands on local advertising. An effort to improve their perception in the community before they ask us for money via govt funding or local campagins.

    And really wasn’t the recent heavy leveraged local campaign to give money to the Golisano‎ children’s hospital expansion, really a masked campaign by the UR to expand their infrastructure so they can provide more services, and make more money, by providing services to people outside of Rochester? Shouldn’t the hospital / school fund their own expansion if the goal is to grow outside of Rochester?

  11. My wife graduated from the U f R in 2000, and tuition was 32,000. That’s a hell of a jump. If our kids were to go there, they better come out doctors, because anything else wouldn’t be worth the debt. MCC is looking better and better everyday, especially since a college degree appears to be useless half the time. Paying for electives you’ll never need, and then graduating with a communications, sociology, etc. degree is getting these kids a nice minimum wage job at Dunkin’ Donuts.

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