University announces increases in education cost and financial aid for 2011-12

The University of Chicago announced a 4.1 percent increase in the full cost of education for the 2011-12 school year, along with an increase of approximately 15 percent in the University’s financial aid budget for undergraduates.

The total cost of undergraduate education for the 2011-12 school year will be $55,416; of that amount, tuition is $41,853, and the remaining $13,563 is for room, board and fees. The final cost is often significantly less for students who receive need- or merit-based aid — typically about 60 percent of all College students. For the 2010-11 school year, about half of undergraduates received need-based aid, and for them, the average amount of grant assistance from all sources is $34,650.

The significant boost in overall financial aid spending for 2011-12 is intended to help ensure that low- and middle-income students can attend the University. The increase should help offset some families’ concerns about uncertain federal aid for the coming year, said James Nondorf, Vice President and Dean of College Admissions and Financial Aid.

“Exceptional students of all backgrounds and all income levels aspire to attend the College,” Nondorf said. “This year’s increase in financial aid spending means that we can continue to offer them the widest possible access to a Chicago education.”

In all, the University has budgeted $88 million for undergraduate financial aid in 2011-12, including need- and merit-based aid. The increase from last year’s budget of $76 million will help lessen the loan burden for some students, officials said.

“The strength of our financial aid program ensures that we continue to attract bright, talented students, regardless of their financial situation,” said Alicia Reyes, Director of College Aid.

The new financial aid projection includes increased spending for the Odyssey Scholarship program, which reduces loan amounts for students with family incomes less than $75,000, and eliminates loans for those with incomes less than $60,000. The number of Odyssey Scholars in the College has risen steadily since the program began in 2007, with such students accounting for nearly 20 percent of the current first-year class. More than 1,100 students in the College currently receive Odyssey Scholarships.

The Odyssey program began with a $100 million donation from an anonymous donor, but the University’s increased funding for the scholarships relies on the generous support of donations from alumni and friends of the University, officials noted.