|Dear Fordham Faculty, Administrators, and Staff,
We are sending out the following message today to undergraduates announcing a painful 6% increase in tuition and room-and-board fees. Graduate and professional programs, which have different tuition levels and function in different markets, will be announcing different and generally lower increases. We will also hold back a significant amount of this increase for financial aid, in the hopes that we won’t lose families that cannot afford to pay any more than they already do. But we need those families that can afford it to help pay for the real increase in our costs to educate and serve their students.
The message to the students explains the impact of inflation and the lingering financial hit of the pandemic on our budget. I want to explain a few more details, many of which I’ve described in the town halls I’ve had this year.
The University’s revenue will not go up by 6% next year, even for undergraduate students, as we increase financial aid for those families who simply cannot afford the increase. We do that for reasons both moral and financial, because reduced retention costs us dearly. Our graduate programs continue to experience real fluctuations in their markets. Overall, we project our total revenue will go up by only about 2% next year.
Meanwhile, the University is experiencing the same vicious inflation that you are. We are paying more for supplies, health care, and maintaining our campuses. Facilities has done a remarkable job of lowering our energy usage, but the rates have shot up. And as we continue to climb out of the hole COVID blew in our budget, we have to replace $11 million in one-time measures not available to us in this year’s budget. So we’re starting well behind.
Your ideas to cut costs and find efficiencies have been truly helpful. We are going to become more frugal overall, more aware that there are limits to what our families can afford to pay. Some administrative inefficiencies will take a little time to unravel, but that’s all the more reason to start right away. And we will keep looking for the kind of waste (both financial and environmental) that no one will miss.
We are also focused on our community’s best ideas for revenue. This is a year when only modest investments are possible, but we need to focus on growth, not just retrenchment. Next year, we’ll do more to recruit international students, market graduate programs, coordinate graduate enrollment efforts, launch pipeline programs that fill our residence halls more fully in the summer, rent every available space, create more continuing education programs for corporate partners, and most of all, veer our academic programs into the future. Those efforts will bear fruit in the years to come.
We are in the final stages of the budget process, making far more robust use of the Budget Planning Committee to get broader input, along with hundreds of hours of meetings with individual units, departments, and schools, and all of the ideas you’ve submitted individually. Slowly but surely we are finding ways to close the gap, and your ideas and participation have helped us do that work more strategically.
Dear Fordham Students and Families,
Just as inflation has hit all of you, so has it continued to increase our costs at Fordham. We are working hard to control those costs by making cuts that do not impact the quality of your education. But we also find it necessary, as many universities have and will, to raise tuition more than in our recent past. This year’s tuition and room-and-board fees will go up 6%. We are adding $10 million to our financial aid budget to help lighten this burden for as many families as we can.
In 2021, the University did not raise tuition to cover costs that went up significantly during the pandemic, because we knew how many families were struggling during the crisis. Fordham continues to recover from its $119 million in pandemic losses. This year, some of our fixed costs—utilities, insurance, supplies, food, and a wide variety of vendor services—have gone up by double-digit percentages because of inflation. And we face rising demands for compensation from our employees, who are also struggling with the impact of inflation.
This has been a painful choice because we also know that many of you are grappling with the same issues as the University. We will do our very best to increase financial aid for those of you who cannot afford to help us pay these rising costs. And we will continue our efforts to bring down those costs as much as we can without sacrificing the level of teaching and service you expect and deserve.
All my best,