Pacific Magazine - Volume 25, Number 1

Taking Chan-ces: Francis Chan calls for Christians to risk for faith

Keeping FPU an affordable investment

To keep students and families investing in higher education, FPU continues to hold tuition below the national average and increase services students need to succeed.

“A high-quality private education can be affordable,” said Stephen Varvis, vice president for enrollment management. “Fresno Pacific has the faculty, academic programs, facilities and financial aid to make this happen.”

Traditional undergraduate tuition for 2012-2013 will be $24,960, less than the 2011-2012 national average for independent colleges of $28,500. Even with the increase in room and board, the first in three years, combined expenses for a student living on campus will go up no more than 2.9 percent.

Graduate tuition, including Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, will not increase for 2012- 2013. Bachelor’s degree completion tuition will go up $5-10 per unit, depending on the program.

The 1.8 percent traditional undergraduate tuition increase compares to average 2011-2012 hikes of 8.3 percent at public colleges and universities, 4.5 percent among independent schools and 8.7 percent at community colleges, according to the College Board, an association of 5,900 colleges, universities and other educational organizations. California’s tuition increases last year—21 percent at public four-year colleges and 37 percent at two-year colleges—were the highest in the nation.

Housing and room and board for 2012- 2013 will be $3,450 per semester, up 7 percent. This compares to more than $5,000 and higher at area public universities; higher yet in many parts of California. “Students can pay less to come to FPU and live on campus than at a state school in a major metro area,” Varvis said.

Affordability has long been important at FPU. In 2009-2010 the university was one of six nationwide to freeze tuition, and in 2009 it introduced a four-year graduation guarantee. The 3.7 percent raise in 2011-2012 remained below the national average for independent college and universities, while increases were made in financial aid, the number of faculty, educational technology and academic services.

That practice continues for 2012-2013. The university will continue to renovate residence hall rooms and increase need-based financial aid. “We have set aside $12,350,000 in institutional aid—that’s what FPU gives in addition to state and federal programs—for 2012-2013. That’s $1,000,000 more than we offered in 2011-2012,” Varvis said.

Other improvements to the main campus include adding two student houses, a commuter- student lounge in East Hall, a study area and technology lab in AIMS Hall of Mathematics and Science and improved security cameras. A 12,000 square-foot expansion of the North Fresno Center opened early in 2012, with several new classrooms, offices and a student lounge area.

“We work very hard to serve academically qualified students of all ages. And today, more than ever, we’re doing that with an eye toward value,” Varvis said.

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