By: Yitzchak Carroll and Sruli Fruchter  | 

University To Hike Tuition, Fees by Over $1,500 for Next Year

Yeshiva University will be raising undergraduate student tuition and fees by $1,575 for the 2020-21 academic year, The Commentator has learned. Next year’s $43,575 tuition cost and $2,900 in miscellaneous undergraduate fees represent an aggregate increase of more than $5,800 since the 2016-17 academic year.

This past year, the university hiked tuition by $1,200 and fees by $200. In the 2018-19 academic year, the university raised tuition and fees by $1,500 compared to the 2017-2018 school year.

Compared to this past year, 2020-21 residence hall fees will increase for all Beren housing options and nearly all Wilf housing options. Rooming costs at the 35th Park Street Residence Hall will rise to $12,000 — a $500 markup — while students residing at other Beren residence facilities will be charged an additional $250 compared to this year’s rates. 

Housing fees will also increase by $250 for all Wilf Campus housing options, with the exception of two-occupancy dorms in the Muss Residence Hall as well as single-occupancy rooms in the Morgenstern and Rubin Residence Halls. A housing official referred inquiries regarding the housing price hikes to other university departments. 

“YU has done its best to keep tuition and fee increases in line with national standards,” said Chief Enrollment Management Officer Chad Austein. “Due to increased operating costs such as health insurance, maintenance of our facilities, and creation of new and innovative academic programs, among other rising costs, increases are necessary to ensure continuity of programs and services,” he added, noting that the university awards “competitive financial aid packages” to students. 

In an email to the student body on Monday, May 4, President Berman announced that he would be taking a 20% pay cut through December, while some senior university officials would be taking voluntary 5-10% pay cuts through that period as well. Capital projects, travel and unspent budgeted expenses will be frozen in the interim, according to the email, which also touted furloughs for some university employees as a cost-saving measure. Additionally, the university secured federal aid from the Congressional relief package, and launched an emergency scholarship campaign to mitigate the financial burden students and families are facing, which will likely impact tuition revenue.

A university spokesperson clarified the President’s email, noting that some maintenance and hiring will continue. “We are reviewing all current projects and are only hiring for critical positions,” the spokesperson explained to The Commentator in an email. “As we prepare to return to campus, planned work on elevators, classrooms and general maintenance are continuing.”

It is unclear whether in-person undergraduate classes will resume on campus in the fall. YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work already emailed students announcing that courses will be held online in the fall semester.

Some students felt that the price hikes are a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic. “If [the tuition raise] were a post-Corona decision, then I think it makes a lot of sense since [YU administrators] have to try and compensate for the amount of money they lost in order to keep the school running,” said Avigail Winokur (SCW ‘22). “Looking at the new financial measures Rabbi Berman announced, it is quite clear that the university is doing a lot to make sure that everyone remains as afloat as possible during this time. On the flip side, a lot of people are facing financial hardship, and the $1,500 may really make a difference to those struggling financially.”

However, other students saw the tuition increase as an added burden on top of the pandemic’s financial effects. “The price increase doesn't seem very appropriate given the current COVID-19 situation,” Sammy Stimler (YC ‘21) said. “Who knows how many students and parents have tremendously suffered from mass employment cuts and income reductions.”

Photo Caption: Tuition rose by more than $5,800 since the 2016-17 academic year. 
Photo Credit: The Commentator