Last week we held the winter meeting of the Board of Trustees. This is the meeting where the Board approves the university’s budget for the next year.
When we prepare a budget, we attempt to carefully balance the financial pressures you and your families face and the increasing costs of providing you the great education you expect from Seattle Pacific. We continue this year to watch the economy and how it may be impacting your finances. Once again, we are keeping our tuition price lower than many other outstanding institutions in our region, and we have increased financial aid funding to help you this coming year. We are a nonprofit organization, so revenues in the budget are used to cover the costs of our educational program.
I am more and more convinced that this is one of the top Christian universities in the U.S. Our faculty are first rate, the campus and facilities are beautiful, and what better place to be than in Seattle. Of course, I know that it is our mission to engage the culture and change the world that drew many of you here and motivates you to finish.
Last Thursday the Board of Trustees approved the following tuition, fees, and room and board annual costs for 2014–15:
|ASSP and Technology Fees (mandatory)
|Room and Board
Tuition will increase by $1,656, room and board costs will increase by $219, and the Technology fee will increase by $3. The ASSP fee is unchanged.
The total percentage increase for all charges is 4.30 percent.
Costs shown above refer to tuition for a full-time undergraduate student with a traditional residence-hall double room and a Block 21 meal plan. Total fees may vary of course, depending on your choice of meal plan and housing. You might want to view a complete breakdown of all fees for 2014-15.
SPU is a great value. Seattle Pacific was again ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a best value at No. 2 in the West for 2013. U.S. News considers SPU among “great schools at great prices.” Also, our current tuition rate continues to be the lowest of comparable private Northwest institutions. We also remain near the average tuition cost for the top 10 comparable institutions within the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Our goal is always to make the price you pay as reasonable and competitive as possible for the high-quality education we have to offer. SPU is a great value and a great investment for you.
Where is the money going? Here are a few highlights from the 2014-15 University budget:
Financial aid. We know that financial aid is critical for most of our students, and we are committed to increasing the financial aid budget as tuition and other costs continue to rise. Funding for grants and scholarships is the greatest increase in the budget for next year. In 2014-15, we will increase the financial aid budget by $2.9 million -- a 5.9 percent increase over current year.
Faculty and staff salaries. The quality of the experience you have in the classroom and on campus is largely dependent on the people who teach and work at SPU. In order to make sure we continue to attract and keep our world-class faculty and staff, we need to make sure they receive competitive salaries and benefits as measured by national benchmarks and surveys. This is an area that SPU has room to improve and, as such, we are increasing salary pools for our faculty and staff by 3.5 percent for next year as we attempt to improve on our standing against the national benchmarks.
Other items added to the budget next year include additional funding for library acquisitions and services to make sure the appropriate learning resources remain available for students and funding to assure that our facilities continue to operate and remain safe and comfortable. Costs of utilities continue to increase and as our campus ages, we also need to make sure there is adequate funding available for maintenance and replacement to keep the buildings and their systems functional and working.
May God bless you in your work for the remainder of this year and in your planning for next year.