The University of Chicago announced a 4.2 percent increase in the full cost of education for the 2010-11 school year, with overall financial aid to undergraduates expected to rise by at least 4.5 percent.
Acknowledging the challenges the University faces in difficult economic times, the Board of Trustees approved the increase covering tuition, student fees, and room and board. At the same time, the board approved a significantly increased financial aid budget with several key initiatives designed to help low- and middle-income families.
The total cost of undergraduate education for the 2010-11 school year will be $53,244; of that amount, tuition is $40,188, and the remaining $13,056 is for room, board and fees. For about 60 percent of students, that cost is significantly reduced through need- or merit-based aid. And for the 49 percent of undergraduate students receiving need-based aid, the average amount of grant assistance from all sources, though not yet final, will be more than $35,000 per student in the coming year.
"The University remains committed to helping students and families afford a Chicago education," said James Nondorf, Vice President and Dean of College Admissions and Financial Aid. "We are home to the nation's most intellectually creative students. The University is expanding its student aid programs so that those exceptional scholars can continue to come here, regardless of financial resources."
The University's Odyssey Scholarship Program, established in 2007, is part of this ongoing commitment. Funded in part by an anonymous $100 million gift from an alumnus, the program launched a $400 million student aid fundraising initiative at Chicago. Odyssey allowed the University to reduce student loans for undergraduate students with family incomes less than $75,000, and eliminate loans for those with incomes less than $60,000.
Officials expect the number of students receiving Odyssey Scholarships to increase for the 2010-11 school year. More than 1,000 students in the College currently receive Odyssey Scholarships. The scholarships have contributed to a steady rise in the number of College students from families making less than $60,000. Such students account for 18.7 percent of the Class of 2012, up from 14.8 percent for the Class of 2011.
"This year we awarded undergraduates $76 million in University funds, $4.8 million of which is from the Odyssey Scholarship," said Alicia Reyes, Director of College Aid.
The strength of financial aid programs is increasingly important as more students from all backgrounds are aspiring to attend the University, officials said. Applications to the College increased by 43 percent this year, attracting students with high levels of academic achievement and socio-economic diversity.
The expected increase in financial aid continues a steady trend. The University's financial aid expenditures have doubled since 2003-04, when the figure stood at $38.3 million. Provision of financial aid in the current academic year grew by 13 percent, in part because of rising need among families hit by the financial crisis and uncertain job market.