Tuition plan increases aid to areas important to students, families

By wayne.steffen on November 11, 2010 @ 3:40am

"All the changes we are making will help our students succeed," said President D. Merrill Ewert. "We are improving our access to entering students, our affordability for continuing students and the value of the degree our graduates receive." 

The cost of traditional undergraduate tuition will rise 3.7 percent to $24,520 for 2011-2012. In 2009-2010 FPU was one of six universities nationwide that froze tuition. Other independent colleges have raised tuition an average of 4.5 percent, bringing the average to $27,293 for 2010-2011, and are expected to do the same for 2011-2012, according to Stephen Varvis, vice president of enrollment management at FPU. (Average hikes for public schools were 7.9 percent for 2010-2011 and 6.5 percent in 2009-2010.) "Right now we're 13.5 percent below average for private universities," he said.

At FPU, president's and dean's scholarships for new students will go up $1,000 each to $11,000 and $8,500, respectively. Faculty, founders and transfer awards ranging from $8,500 to $3,000 will increase $500 each. A new grant, the Transfer Partnership Award, was established at $1,500. The Mennonite Brethren guarantee package will rise $3,000 to $11,000. In addition, more funds will be available for student work-study positions.

"By keeping our focus on providing challenging academics that lead to ethical and professional development and supporting faculty who are mentors as well as experts, we make every dollar count," Varvis said.

Tuition for bachelor's degree completion programs will also go up 3.7 percent for 2011-2012, except for Christian ministries, which will increase 2.15 percent. For graduate students, teacher education and Global MBA rates will stay the same, while other programs will increase 1 percent.

FPU will also increase:

  • Faculty—Professors will be added in business, both in degree completion and traditional undergraduate programs.
  • Educational technology—The number of "smart" classrooms, incorporating computers, DVD and other media, will increase, as campus wireless connections. The Steven R. Brandt Research Learning Lab in Hiebert Library is also being expanded. The center features computers, wireless connections, podcasting equipment and study areas.
  • Student services—Academic Support Center hours will be expanded. Campus security will be augmented to include the seminary campus.

It's all about keeping an FPU education an affordable investment. "We have the highest four-year graduation rate in the Valley, and our graduates are sought by businesses, school districts and top graduate schools. Our students represent this region's wonderful ethnic and cultural diversity and many are the first in their families to attend college," Varvis said. "Not only do they attend FPU, they graduate and succeed."