After several months of considering where to cut costs and different ways to increase revenue, budget the university’s for the 2016-17 academic year has been set at $118 million. Tuition, fees, salaries and everything else that goes into the budget have also been fixed.
President Lesley Hallick presented the fiscal plan before faculty and staff at the 2016 budget forum on March 31.
According to Hallick’s presentation, tuition for the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences will raise three percent to $41,054. This is the college’s smallest increase in tuition in at least ten years.
Hallick said that everyone working on the budget did as much as they could to keep tuition down, which meant combing through the university’s programs and expenses to find the best ways to limit costs and raise revenue.
The president’s charts and graphs demonstrated that tuition and fees at Pacific are comparable, if not lower than many of the other liberal arts colleges in the region. For comparison, tuition at Whitman College was $46,000 for the 2015-16 academic year.
To show the debt accrued by students at Pacific in comparison to other schools, the presentation included figures on student debt here and at other universities throughout Oregon.
“Debt that our students accumulate is much less than the state average because our students can graduate in four years and we have a good discount rate,” Hallick said.
A discount rate is the percent that need and merit base financial aid drop a student’s tuition. The average projected discount rate for 2016-17 is 56 percent.
Hallick also explained that “our students have a fairly low [loan] default rate, which tells us that our graduates are working.”
Another key portion of the budget was how much will be spent to pay faculty and staff.
Between this year and next, the university’s payroll will raise 3.8 percent. One of Hallick’s goals for the year was to raise professors’ salaries so that they are paid the national average for their peer group.
Hallick explained that the university has “to pay competitive salaries to retain good faculty and staff.”