Tuition for 2018-2019 school year to increase 3.9 percent


Written By Alexander Popichak , Editor Emeritus

Students will have to pay more to attend classes next year as tuition is on the rise again.

Point Park’s Board of Trustees approved a 3.9-percent tuition increase to all full time students, meaning students in the Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA) will pay $1,440 per year more than the 2017-2018 rate. Non-COPA students will pay an additional $1,120 per year over this academic year’s tuition.

The university announced the rates for the 2018-2019 school year in a letter to all students dated Dec. 12.

“At Point Park University, the faculty and staff provide you with a distinctive, innovative and experience-based education in a dynamic, urban setting,” the letter read in part. “The university’s career and academic counselors are ready to assist you in developing your pathway to success.”

In addition to the tuition increase, Point Park’s Technology Fee was raised for the first time since the 2013-2014 school year.

University President Paul Hennigan said last March that tuition increases are generally dependent on projected enrollment, citing that the university’s revenue is 93-percent dependent on enrollment. The president’s financial team runs projected incomes against known costs, which include utility costs and personnel benefits.

“We have been cutting expenditures here at the university for seven years now in an effort to try and reduce the revenue increase necessary to pass on in the form of a tuition increase to our students,” Hennigan said March 22. “So when we announce a 3.9-percent tuition increase [from the 2016-17 to the 2017-18 academic year], roughly half of that, and I’m not kidding, goes straight to financial aid.”

The increased need stems partially from an increase in enrollment. According to the university factbook, enrollment on the whole at Point Park has been steadily increasing over the past five years. In 2017, a total of 4,224 students were enrolled across the university’s undergraduate, graduate and online programs, up from 3,737 students in 2014.

While enrollment has been on the rise, four and six-year graduation rates declined from last year (by two-percent and three-percent respectively). Graduation rates at Point Park have been fairly flat in the past five years. The latest reported four-year graduation rate is 49-percent and six-year graduation rate is 55-percent for first-time, full-time freshmen.

This year’s 3.9-percent tuition increase for traditional undergraduates is the same percent increase in tuition as the increase from the 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 school year. The increase from the 2015-2016 to the 2016-2017 school year was 2.9-percent.

The overall tuition for traditional undergraduates in the 2018-2019 school year, as a result, is $29,980 per year for non-conservatory students and $38,220 per year for conservatory students before added fees, such as room and board.

Hennigan said in March that the largest expenditure from year to year is usually financial aid. University spokesman Lou Corsaro issued the following statement Friday afternoon on behalf of the university:

“We work with each student to ensure a quality education remains affordable and annually award more than $85 million in financial aid. Each year, administration, faculty and the Board of Trustees evaluate programs and budgets before setting tuition. The tuition for 2018-2019 included a 3.9 [percent] increase to provide the type of education our students expect and deserve.”

The university reports on its website that 99-percent of freshmen starting at Point Park in the 2016-2017 school year (this year’s sophomores) received some form of financial aid. The average award package, according to the website, is $25,277 per year.

Once awarded, the merit-based university-awarded scholarships stay the same through a student’s career at Point Park. Merit-based academic scholarships were raised by $1,000 across the board for students starting this academic year.

Hennigan said in March that while the cost of attending may rise every year, there’s no disputing the value of a collegiate education.

“I would encourage every student to take full advantage of every opportunity available at Point Park and through Point Park and through the collegiate experience,” Hennigan said in March. “As far as costs go, the way to feel good about paying an increase in cost is to know that you’re getting the value that you want.”