Budget plan for 2018-19 to focus on academic excellence, student access

The Cornell University Board of Trustees approved tuition rates and other planning parameters for next year’s budget that include investments in key academic priorities to spur academic excellence, research collaboration and educational innovation while ensuring student access and greater socio-economic diversity.

The anticipated $2.3 billion operating budget for the Ithaca campus for fiscal year 2018-19 will be formally approved by the board at its May meeting.

The proposed FY 2018-19 budget supports continued enhancement of the educational experience for Cornell students through increasing experiential and engaged learning, evidence-based teaching, innovative uses of technology, and curricular advances such as the gateway courses initiative.

Provost Michael Kotlikoff emphasized Cornell’s commitment to academic excellence and One Cornell. “The increased investment in faculty recruitment in Ithaca, as well as cross-campus collaboration and programming, will preserve and enhance our stature, while leveraging the complementary strengths of Cornell’s three campuses,” he said.

Planned investment in academic programming includes new faculty hires for the Radical Collaboration project, postdoctoral and graduate student fellowships, and large grant matches.

Funding for undergraduate financial aid will increase by $10 million, for an annual total of $265 million.

“The proposed budget’s significant investment in student financial aid not only augments Cornell’s commitment to increasing the socio-economic diversity of its student body, but also means that next year’s net tuition cost for most students currently receiving financial aid will not increase,” Kotlikoff said. “Our primary goal is to maintain the outstanding value and quality of a Cornell education while ensuring students have access to that education, regardless of their financial means.”

The full-pay undergraduate tuition rate will be $54,584 for students in the endowed colleges and out-of-state students in the contract colleges, and $36,564 for New York state residents in the contract colleges. This represents an increase for the 2018-19 academic year of 3.75 percent; after expenditures on undergraduate financial aid, this will result in a net 2.6 percent increase.

For the ninth consecutive year there will be no increase in tuition for doctoral and research master’s degree students. In addition, graduate students who have fellowships, or teaching or research assistantships, will see a 2.5 percent increase in their minimum nine-month stipend rate, to $26,426.

Tuition rate increases for professional master’s degree programs vary by program, but none exceeds 3.75 percent.

The trustees also approved:

  • an undergraduate housing rate of $8,842 for a double-occupancy room, an increase of 3.25 percent;
  • a full traditional meal plan of $5,924, an increase of 2.75 percent;
  • a student health fee of $370, up 3.35 percent.

The undergraduate student activity fee, set by the Student Assembly, decreased by 2.9 percent to $234. The graduate student activity fee, set by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, was lowered to $84, a 1.2 percent decrease.

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John Carberry