7% tuition hike causes stir among students

NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 3, 2013) A 7 percent tuition hike at Dillard University this fall has caused a stir among students, but the increase is the smallest of eight Louisiana private schools over an eight-year span.

And Dillard is still considered one of the most affordable small private colleges in the nation, according to an Affordable Colleges  Online report.

Dr. Alecia Cyprian, interim bursar in Business and Finance, said the DU Board of Trustees approved the 7 percent hike of $950 at its May meeting – from $13,650 to $14,600 a year – along with a 5 percent increase in fees, room and board.

The DU hike is the third in the past seven years, and the Affordable Colleges report said this represents an average increase of 2.7 percent over the past eight years as a 21.3 percent total. In comparison, according to the Affordable Colleges report, Xavier’s costs have increased 45 percent over  the eight years, or 5.6 percent average increase a year. Its costs now stand at $18,700, the report said.

Of the eight private schools – Lake of the Lake, Centenary, Holy Cross, Xavier, Loyola, Louisiana College, Tulane and Dillard – two schools had less expensive tuition than Dillard: Holy Cross in New Orleans and Louisiana College in Alexandria, at $11,822 and  $13,780, respectively. However, both have had much higher overall increases.

For example, Holy Cross has increased its costs by 45.8 percent over the eight years, or an average annual increase of 5.7 percent while Louisiana College increased 33.8 percent over eight years, or an average annual increase of 4.2 percent, the report said.

Students are still upset at Dillard.

Baton Rouge junior Asia Cage said, “I feel we are paying too much for a mediocre education…I feel as if I’m not challenged academically for the amount that I pay.”

Communication sophomore Timika Simmons of New Orleans asked “why the tuition got raised, but the food is not improving.” She said students are seeing the benefits of increased room and board.

Chardey Johnson, a junior mass communication major, called the price hike “ridiculous,” pointing to a lack of parking and an additional $100 for a student parking decal.

 (Kelth Cameron and Whitney Patterson contributed to this report.)