Section: News

Board of Trustees increases operational budget, tuition cost

Last Thursday and Friday, the College’s Board of Trustees met in San Francisco for their winter meeting. They discussed changes to tuition and budget, supporting Kenyon within the unpredictable environment of higher education and progress on the College’s Foundations for Kenyon’s Third Century strategic plan, according to a Tuesday news bulletin. The meeting was held in one of Bloomberg’s financial news and technology hubs, courtesy of Trustees Matt Winkler ’77 and Nina Freedman ’77. It also corresponded with the first stop on the Bicentennial tour, which attracted nearly 100 admitted students, parents and alumni.

The 2024-25 operating budget will be $197,398,000, according to the bulletin. Tuition will rise to $87,160, an average increase of 3.5%, depending on a student’s choice of housing. The financial aid budget will also rise to $65,773,000 for the 2024-25 fiscal year — a 10% increase from previous years — and the general salary pool for faculty and staff will also increase by 2%. To add on, health insurance costs will inflate 5% for participating employees and the College.

In regard to the rising tuition, President Julie Kornfeld said in an interview with the Collegian, “Our operating costs are continuing to go up, but we realize that we can’t pass that on increasingly, as the sticker [price] goes out to families. So we are moving to increase our financial aid budget, which has grown dramatically in the last five to 10 years. That’s the balancing act.”

The Board focused on how to define and bolster Kenyon as an institution among the backdrop of a competitive higher education environment. Steve Poskanzer, who served as president of Carleton College for 11 years, “led a discussion of the headwinds facing liberal arts colleges, including demographic shifts, shifting public sentiment and legal and political actions that present new challenges for how colleges and universities fulfill their missions,” Kornfeld said. She added that Poskanzer discussed, “what college admissions is gonna look like, and what we need to think about, and the kinds of things that are headwinds facing higher education.”

Kornfeld also updated the Kenyon community on Foundations for Kenyon’s Third Century, a plan that aims to prepare students and “bring even greater distinction to a Kenyon education.” The three chief priorities of this plan are composed of rigorous learning in a global context, a thriving, diverse community and strong financial foundations. In order to fulfill this plan, the College has begun a series of strategic changes. These include expanding the student body by 200 to 250 students by 2030, which will be done via constructing and updating new and existing housing, adjusting the dining program and bringing on additional staff and faculty. Kenyon also plans to consider updating its academic calendar to incorporate a winter term along with two semesters and strengthen summer programming, as well as develop a new set of institutional partnerships. In terms of the initiative, Kornfeld asserted that they were looking at “implementation of some of the priorities of that strategic plan and talk[ing] to [the] Board a little bit about that.”

The Campus and Finance Committee received an update on carbon neutrality planning, and the Investment Committee examined Kenyon’s endowment investments. Kornfeld also reported on Kenyon’s partnership with the American Talent Initiative, a collective of top colleges and universities committed to enrolling and graduating more high-achieving, lower-income students. Vice President for Enrollment Diane Anci updated that the fall class of 2028 to date has a strong early decision cohort; she also informed the Board on the application and admissions process for the class of 2028 so far. Vice President for Advancement Colleen Garland reported on the “Kenyon Access Initiative, an effort that has secured more than $26.5 million in commitments for endowed scholarships from Kenyon alumni and parents who believe deeply that a Kenyon education should be affordable for talented students of any means.”

17 Comments

Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at collegian@kenyon.edu.