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Sunday, April 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

Tuition to increase over next academic years

Prayag Gordy / Thresher

By Aisha Khemani     2/20/24 9:48pm

Incoming undergraduate students matriculating in the 2024-2025 academic year will pay $62,874 in tuition, a 9.9% increase from the current price tag, according to a Feb. 9 announcement. The cost of on-campus room and board will rise to $18,094 with campus fees at $925, bringing the total cost of attendance up to $81,893. 

This change doesn’t apply to current and continuing students, whose tuition will follow the pattern of previous years and rise by $2,754, an increase of 4.5%. This is the fifth consecutive year of tuition increases and the highest the university has seen in recent years.

This follows a similar increase across most private four-year institutions, which the College Board reported average 4% for the 2023-2024 year.

These rates will continue to increase for underclassmen in the 2025-2026 school year, who will pay $66,540 in tuition. Upperclassmen will continue to see tuition increase by $2,690 from $59,784 to $62,474 in accordance with previous patterns.

Provost Amy Dittmar said the tuition increase is vital for Rice to maintain its standing as a competitive institution. She also emphasized the university’s commitment to providing “generous” financial aid.

“Rice offers a student-centered and personalized education for all students,” Dittmar wrote in an email to the Thresher. “Meeting the increasing needs of our students, and their success is our top priority. We are enhancing the leading individualized approach that we provide while boosting the generous, loan-free financial aid through the Rice Investment and other programs.” 

President Reggie DesRoches said that while Rice understands the financial challenges faced by families, the increase is necessary to continue to meet the needs of students in the face of increasing enrollment.

“We aim to empower students from all income levels to achieve academic and personal success at one of the best universities in the country, and to develop them into the leaders and problem-solvers of the future,” DesRoches wrote in an email to the Thresher. “Enrollment has steadily increased over the years, and we anticipate that trend to continue and are focused on meeting the needs of our students.” 

DesRoches said the university is committed to meeting the full financial needs of all its students. The Rice Investment scholarship program continues to cover full tuition, fees and room and board for students with family incomes below $75,000. 

“Rice is bolstering its commitment to providing a top-notch personalized education while ensuring access and affordability through our loan-free financial aid programs, notably the Rice Investment, for students from all backgrounds,” DesRoches wrote. “Rice recognizes the financial challenges faced by students and their families and will continue to meet the full financial need of qualified, admitted students and provide loan-free aid. The university expects the total amount spent on aid will be its highest amount ever.”

Rice plans to invest $150 million in grant-based aid and scholarships during the 2024-2025 academic year and another $160 million during the following year, according to the Feb. 9 news release. These are the largest investments the university has ever made towards its financial aid program, Rice said.

McMurtry College freshman Jonathan de Leef said he was disappointed with the increases in tuition. 

“Rice already charges upwards of $75,000 in total costs,” de Leef said. “It doesn’t make sense to me, personally, that they need to raise tuition by $5,000 dollars for incoming freshmen and by around $2,500 dollars for current students to maintain their standing as a prestigious institution in the U.S. or even worldwide. The tuition we currently pay should be enough.”

Baker College junior Diego Hinojosa said that while he understands that a tuition increase might be necessary in the face of inflation, he hopes that there would be less reduction in aid for individual students from year to year.

“One of the main reasons I chose to attend Rice was because of the amount of financial aid they gave me,” Hinojosa said. “However, in my sophomore year, when my sister graduated from Dartmouth [College], the amount of aid I received changed [even though] it didn’t change my family's financial situation.”

Hinojosa said that he hopes additional money from tuition increases go toward helping current students who face similar issues to him.

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