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GW trustees approve tuition hike

Trustees of George Washington University, a college known for one of the highest sticker prices in higher education, today approved a 3-percent tuition increase for incoming undergraduate students along with a $10 million increase in financial aid.

The school will continue to pledge no tuition increase for returning undergraduates, an unusual policy that significantly lowers the four-year cost of attendance. The school has held tuition increases to 3 percent for three consecutive years.

"The affordability of higher education is an important national issue, and we are working hard to ensure that no student is prevented from attending George Washington solely for reasons of cost," said GWU President Steven Knapp, in a release.

The school's program of fixed tuition and guaranteed financial aid locks in tuition costs for five years and ensures need and merit-based institutional grants never ebb.

Annual tuition for incoming undergraduate students in fall 2010 is set at $42,860.

In a recent article, I discussed the difference between list price and net price at several local universities. List price has risen significantly over the past several years, but net price has hardly budged. Net price is what students actually pay, after accounting for grant aid.

For grant recipients at GWU, the total cost of attendance including living expenses drops below $30,000 a year.

The article drew a range of comments. Suffice it to say that some readers remain unconvinced that schools such as GWU, Georgetown and American University are bargains, or that significant grant aid is available for two-income middle class families.

Now that both Williams and Dartmouth colleges have dropped their no-loan policies -- essentially a pledge to meet full student need with grant aid alone -- it will be interesting to see whether other colleges become more or less generous with aid in the coming year.

As always, I welcome your comments.

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By Daniel de Vise  |  February 12, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Administration , Admissions , Aid , Finance , Privates  | Tags: GWU, tuition and fees  
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