In a Feb. 10 news bulletin, President Decatur announced that tuition and fees for the 2022-23 school year will increase 4.5%, from $76,620 to $80,100. He also announced a 7.5% increase in Kenyon’s financial aid budget.
This tuition increase will make Kenyon one of the most expensive colleges in the country, more expensive than many other institutions, including Oberlin College, Yale University and Columbia University. Additionally, it marks another installment in a series of steep tuition hikes. Four years ago, Kenyon cost just over $68,000.
This raise in tuition comes as inflation is at a 40-year high, with a 7.5% increase in the Consumer Price Index over the last year. According to Burson, inflation was a primary reason for the price increase.
Decatur wrote in the news bulletin that the Board of Trustees and members of the senior staff made the decision to increase tuition carefully. “Any adjustment to our tuition and fees is made with considerable care, recognizing that a college education is one of the largest investments many families make,” he said.
According to Vice President for Finance Todd Burson, the College’s main expenses are financial aid and payroll.
Burson also said that all employees will receive a 4% raise next year, and that this was a primary motivation for the price increase, especially considering inflation. “We were very concerned about our employees’ purchasing power, and we need to make sure we give them as much money as we can to help them out with inflation,” he said.
However, Burson mentioned in coming years other costs may contribute to the price increases, including new initiatives in the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan like the computational studies major. Burson said Kenyon’s various construction projects did not factor into the decision.
According to Burson, Kenyon is committed to limiting future tuition increases. “80,000 is a very large dollar amount. I get it,” he said.
Despite this increase, Decatur said that students receiving need-based aid do not need to worry about paying more for Kenyon. “Need-based financial aid increases at the same rate as tuition,” he said. “If folks are on a need-based grant, need-based grants will go up next year so that there’s no gap.”
Burson also emphasized that the Board of Trustees and members of the senior staff are committed to keeping Kenyon affordable, and that they will try to limit future tuition increases. “The big thing for us is Kenyon is not for profit, we’re not looking to make a lot of money off students,” he said. “So when we build these budgets, it’s about how do we break even — that’s what we’re trying to do.”