Despite financial concerns, Hogan maintains positive outlook

Despite a 9.5 percent tuition increase that was approved by the Board of Trustees in May, University President Michael Hogan remains optimistic of the University’s future and is confident that the University is still of good value as a public institution.

Hogan said the 9.5 percent tuition increase might sound deceivingly high.

“Although 9.5 percent sounds high, it’s important to remember that this is a five-year rate, and at 3.7 percent annually,” he said. “Few universities have five-year guaranteed tuition rates, and at 3.7 percent, it’s among the lowest annual tuition increases in the county.”

Former Interim President Stanley Ikenberry said the budgetary issues will dominate the new president’s first year in office.

“The financial crisis is the big overwhelming struggle that the University will face,” Ikenberry said.

Hogan said strong applicant rates to the University are evidence to the institution’s value, regardless of the recent tuition hike.

“We continue to receive more demand from outstanding students than we can accommodate,” he said.

Hogan added that he is aware of the financial burden the tuition has on families and is working to increase funding for need-based scholarships. He said he will continue to advocate for state and federal support for the University.

University spokesman Tom Hardy said he agreed that the number of applicants this year speaks for itself.

“I think there’s a recognition that the leadership of the University has done everything it can and will continue to do so to maintain the quality of the education experience,” Hardy said. “It’s ultimately still a good value.”

He added that since the state has failed to produce funds promised to the University, tuition now accounts for a more significant portion of the budget.

“Tuition now is carrying more than state appropriation is,” Hardy said. “When the state reduces our appropriation and doesn’t pay us what it promises … we have to make it up somewhere. Unfortunately, tuition is one way to fill that gap.”

Tuition is not the only means the University is using to support its budget, he added. The administration is working toward different cost saving and revenue generating means, such as reducing administrative overhead and raising additional money from donors.

Although the budget now heavily relies on tuition, Hogan remains positive, and finds there is a benefit for the University through the harsh economic times.

“It’s forcing us to delineate what is most important to us,” Hogan said. “It’s made us look for ways we can become more efficient and to streamline operations. These are all steps we should always be taking at all times, and with the tremendous dedication our faculty, staff and students have to the University, I’m confident that we can become stronger, holding onto and even improving our strengths.”