Tuition increase on the agenda

Eliza Hagstrom, Guest Reporter

Three members of the administration came to the Hamline Undergraduate Student Congress (HUSC) general assembly on Nov. 29 to speak about tuition increases for the 2023-24 academic year. These members included Vice President for Finance & Administration Brent Gustafson, Interim Provost Andy Rundquist and Vice President of Enrollment Management Mai Nhia Xiong-Chan. 

All Hamline undergraduate students received an email from the Office of the Provost on Nov. 22, detailing the 3.5% tuition increase, which sets tuition at $47,134 for 2023-24.

At the Nov. 29 HUSC meeting, Gustafson explained what each section of the new budget means, and how it supports students. He outlined how this increase is on track with increases Hamline has made over the last ten years, as well as what similar institutions in the Twin-Cities area have done. 

“We’re a people-intensive business, so not surprisingly, most of the money here is spent on compensation,” Gustafson said. “[To] faculty, staff, student workers.” 

The budget was described as a pie and the different places that money is spent are the different slices. 

Last fiscal year there were a thousand lines on the budget and each one had a description of where that money was spent in the university. Although this HUSC meeting was not live streamed on their Instagram, as the budget is not available to the public yet, students were welcome to ask questions and they would be answered to the best of the ability of the administrative members present..

Senior Evelyn Harrison asked how the budget takes into account the fact that not everything will cost what is predicted. 

Gustafson explained that not every single dollar that the university has is budgeted to a specific place in order to account for unpredictability and overspending in certain areas. 

“We have more vacant positions than we would prefer to have. Some positions are really hard to fill in right now. So we had budgeted compensation … that’s budgetary savings,” Gustafson said. ”But other staff are taking on more work.”

Xiong-Chan spoke about financial aid and the changes that this is having on students. She explained that they are trying to balance merit-based and need-based scholarships for students. 

“One of the issues that we’ve seen in some of the research that we’ve seen is that particularly for high school, even for college, there is a correlation between high academic ability, socioeconomic status and so on,” Xiong-Chan said. “Right now we’re basing a lot of our decisions on trying to get to the net that has the most significant financial needs first.” 

Xiong-Chan also said that any student can set up a meeting with student accounts and financial aid to talk about their finances at any time. These meetings usually only take about fifteen to thirty minutes each and can help students understand their financial options.


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