BEN GAMBUZZA ’20
*This article was originally published on Feb. 14*
The comprehensive fee for the 2018-2019 academic year at Trinity will be $71,660, a 3.9% increase from this year, according to a school-wide email sent by President Berger-Sweeney at noon today. Room and Board will be $14,750, up from $14,200. Finally, the student activities fee will remain the same at $410. These increases make up “key steps” in “achieving long-term financial sustainability”, according to the President. According to a recent episode of the WNPR podcast “Where We Live,” this new tuition rise makes Trinity likely the most expensive college in Connecticut, as it is the first to surpass $70,000.
In a study by Business Insider published Feb. 17 of 2017, Trinity ranked as the 13th most expensive school in the country, with a total cost of $66,440. At the time, Harvey Mudd College was ranked as most expensive with a total cost of $69,717. In a study published by U.S. News and World Report in September 2017, Trinity came in at number five after the University of Chicago, according to the journal’s calculations of tuition and fees. Trinity is expected to rise closer to number one for most expensive U.S. colleges in the upcoming year.
The President’s email, summarizing last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, also contained the latest accreditation report and self-study for the College. In the 192 page report, the retention rate is stated to be 90% as of fall 2016, up from 88%, but still trailing other NESCAC schools. Tufts’ retention rate is 96%, Wesleyan’s was 94% as of 2015, and Bowdoin’s was 96.5% as of 2016, for example. Detailing some reasons why students leave Trinity, the report states possibilities such as Trinity not being their first-choice school, “dissatisfaction with the social life at Trinity,” and “the lack of academic commitment and curiosity by some of their peers.” The report goes on to explain that Trinity admitted “students who were below the academic profile to meet revenue targets” because fiscal pressures “of the recent past.”
The complete final accreditation and self-report is on the Trinity College website, as well as the Evaluation Team’s report, representing the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education New England Association of Schools and Colleges. A forthcoming article from the Tripod will further investigate the Evaluation Team’s report.
The Board of Trustees also voted for two measures that will “address important health and safety issues.” The first measure is to replace the underground steam and condensate piping on campus, a $4.3 million project. The other is a replacing of the turf on the Robin L. Sheppard Field, a $1.4 million project to be completed by the fall.
All fiscal increases are in preparation for the Summit Bicentennial Plan’s goal of long-term financial stability of the institution, according to Berger-Sweeney. And although Trinity is “one of the few institutions in the country that meets the full demonstrated financial need of admitted students”, the President says, “we must do more.”