Middlebury College posts low tuition hike

MIDDLEBURY — Compared to colleges and universities across the country, students headed to Middlebury College this fall are getting a break. This year will mark the second of the school’s “CPI+1” initiative, which limits tuition hikes from year to year.
While tuition at Middlebury College is already high, the 2011-2012 school year will bring a rise of less than 2.5 percent over the current year’s tuition, room and board cost, from $52,500 to $53,800.
Last February, Middlebury College president Ron Liebowitz pledged to control tuition cost increases by restricting them to within one percent of inflation, measured by the consumer price index (CPI). The previous year, in 2009, tuition rose by 3.2 percent, which came to about 3 percent higher than CPI. In 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 1.5 percent increase in consumer prices, meaning that in setting the tuition price for the year, the college was restricted to a tuition price increase of 2.5 percent.
Liebowitz’s announcement was an unusual one among institutes of higher education across the nation, where cost increases have been outpacing inflation for the past several decades. For the upcoming academic year, Williams College, a private liberal arts college like Middlebury, has announced a 4.2 percent increase in tuition, room and board cost — from $52,340 to $54,560. At the University of Vermont, administrators have recommended a tuition, room and board mark that is 5.1 percent higher for out-of-state students — from $41,982 last year to $44,160 this year — and 4.7 percent higher for in-state students — from $23,418 to $24,520. The official numbers will not be available until May.
In a March press release, Liebowitz said that Middlebury’s decision to limit price increases was made with the future in mind.
“One has to wonder how much families will be willing to pay for a four-year education, and how many excellent would-be applicants have already decided, or will soon decide, not to apply due to the escalating price,” he said.
And though it will mean less income through tuition for the college, Liebowitz said that the administration would have to learn to do more with less.
“I believe that by limiting our fee increases we force ourselves to make more thoughtful and consequential decisions regarding the resources available to us,” he said.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].

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