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Cost to study, live at College of the Holy Cross to rise 3.2 percent to $58k for 2014-15

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  February 27, 2014 01:28 PM

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The average annual cost to study and live at the College of the Holy Cross will rise by about 3.2 percent to $58,042 next fall, campus officials said.

That figure includes $45,080 for full-time undergraduate tuition and $12,350 a year on average for room and board, which are about 3.2 percent higher than the current rates. The figure also includes $612 in mandatory fees, the same as the current fees.

The figure does not include additional costs, such as to pay for books, supplies, health insurance, transportation or other personal expenses.

“While our nation’s economic outlook shows signs of improvement, we are very aware that even a minimal increase in fees will have an impact on our students and their families,” campus president Rev. Philip L. Boroughs wrote in a letter to families this month. “In our budgeting and planning process, our [trustee] board and senior leadership take into account the pressures and challenges that face families and businesses today.”

“Much of next year’s fee increase was necessitated by the same increases in energy, health care, and similar costs that are affecting you and so many others,” he continued. “These realities factor into setting the fee schedule—just as we factor in our commitment to support, continue, and enhance our exceptional academic experiences, our Catholic and Jesuit identity, and the many diverse learning and leadership opportunities that attracted your family to Holy Cross in the first place.”

He said families who need help affording a Holy Cross education should take advantage of resources at the college’s financial aid office.

Few other area colleges and universities have released their pricing for the 2014-15 academic year. Most will announce their rates over the next few months.

Amherst College, which costs $61,443 a year currently, is the state’s most expensive school, according to a Globe review of tuition, room, board and mandatory fee rates charged by higher education institutions in Massachusetts.

Full-time students living on campus at several other private Massachusetts schools – including Brandeis and Harvard universities, MIT, and Babson, Wellesley and Williams colleges – pay in the mid- to high-$50,000s, and estimated personal and travel expenses can push their total bill above the $60,000 mark.

Many other local private schools cost more than $50,000.

Officials at such pricy schools often point out that their institutions offer generous financial aid package that can drastically lower the actual price charged to students and their families.

The Associated Press reported recently that figures from the College Board show tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 27 percent in the past five years and tuition and fees at four-year private schools went up 14 percent.

An increasing number of schools are offering some students a guarantee that they will pay a single rate for the length of their college careers, according to the Associated Press.

And, the Globe reported recently that a number of private institutions across the country, including locally, are freezing tuition, guaranteeing graduation in four years, increasing aid or matching aid offers at competing institutions.

Though many schools tout their financial aid offerings, some experts say that potential students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, see the so-called “sticker price” and are quickly scared off before applying because they don’t realize, or are perhaps confused by, what aid options are available.

Lesley University in Cambridge recently announced it will restructure its pricing to essentially build financial aid into base tuition and fee costs, lowering the school’s “sticker price” and potentially lowering the odds that prospective students will be scared off or confused by the actual cost.

Expensive, elite schools have been particularly criticized for not doing more to recruit and admit low-income students.

Harvard recently announced it will launch an outreach and awareness campaign to try to encourage more low-income students to apply.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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