Tuition rises 4.3% at Duke

The $40,665 rate, with other costs, can total $53,905 for next year.

Staff WriterFebruary 28, 2011 

Tuition rates for Duke University undergraduate students will rise 4.3 percent in the 2011-12 academic year.

The increase, approved Saturday by Duke's Board of Trustees, will push tuition to $40,665.

Total costs for students at the elite private university - including room, board and fees - will rise 3.9 percent to $53,905 in the next academic year.

"Costs continue to go up [faster than inflation] in many of the areas that are critical to the university," Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said Sunday. He cited health insurance and energy costs as two areas where costs have been mushrooming.

Duke has frozen pay and eliminated jobs in recent years as it works to cut $100 million in expenses out of its annual operating budget. Since early 2009, nearly 400 workers have accepted buyout offers; their jobs subsequently were eliminated.

"Overall, the university strives to keep tuition increases as low as possible," Schoenfeld said.

Last month, the UNC system's Board of Governors, bracing for another round of state budget cuts, approved an average increase of 6.8 percent for fees and tuition for the 2011-12 academic year.

For in-state undergraduates, tuition and fees at UNC-Chapel Hill are set to rise $352 to $6,840 per year, N.C. State University's tuition and fees will rise $481 to $6.874, and N.C. Central University's will climb $241 to $4,720.

At Duke, more than 40 percent of students receive financial aid based on financial need, in addition to those who receive scholarships based on athletics and academics.

Schoenfeld said the financial aid budget hasn't been set for next year but is likely to increase 8 percent to 10 percent - double the tuition rate increase. That 2-to-1 ratio between financial aid and tuition increases has held constant in recent years, he added.

Duke expects to spend about $110.2 million on financial aid during the current school year - up from $99.8 million in 2009-2010.

"Duke has a very strong commitment to financial aid and affordability," Schoenfeld said.

This month, USA Today and the Princeton Review ranked Duke No. 2 among private colleges nationwide for being a "best value." That ranking assesses the effect of financial aid as well as tuition and other costs.

Duke also increased itstuition at graduate and professional schools Saturday.

Tuition for MBA students at the Fuqua School of Business will rise 4.9 percent to $50,300; tuition for law school students will rise 4 percent to $48,800.

The price increase for undergraduates comes on top of a 3.9 percent rise in tuition and fees for the current school year, which pushed the cost of attending above the $50,000 mark for the first time.

"It's important to remember that tuition doesn't cover, in fact it doesn't come close to covering, the full cost of education" at private universities, Schoenfeld said. "The rest of the costs are made up by things like income from the endowment, fundraising and other sources of revenue."

david.ranii@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4877

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