Where does your tuition go?

Madison Rodak


      While living on Ursinus’ campus and paying for various services—as well as, of course, tuition—it’s easy to wonder where the college gets the rest of its money from, and what that money is spent on.

     Per sources provided by Annette Parker, Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Susan Fazio, Administrative Coordinator to the President’s Office, the bulk of Ursinus’ operating revenue for the 2018 year has come from net tuition and fees, which make up 47% of Ursinus’ revenues. An overall 28% of Ursinus’ revenue comes from college room and board, followed by endowment transfer at 10%.

     According to the “Overview of the College’s Operating Budget” provided by Annette Parker, the cost of Ursinus’ overall tuition and fees per student for the 2018-2019 academic year is $52,050. The cost of room and board is $12,750, making a combined total of $64,800. However, Parker explains that students’ tuition payments help the school provide financial aid for other students.

     Parker also provided Ursinus’ operating expenses for the 2018 year (2017-2018 budget) and perhaps unsurprisingly, compensation makes up the majority of the college’s expenses at 54%. There are many different kinds of employees at Ursinus—from student workers to technicians to professors—so it makes sense for compensation to make up the largest overall percentage of the college’s costs.

      Making up 14% of Ursinus’ expenses, a considerable dip from compensation’s 54%, are student services. Ursinus’ website categorizes the library, research, and athletics as student support services. This is closely followed by facility operations, which made up 10% of Ursinus’ expenses overall.

     Diving into the smaller numbers, institutional support made up only 6% of Ursinus’ 2017-2018 expenses. However, it seems that institutional support is starting to play a larger role on campus. According to the “Fiscal Year 2017 in Review” page on Ursinus’ website, Ursinus will invest $100 million into the comprehensive “Keep the Promise” campaign, which began  in the Fall of 2018.

     Part of the “Keep the Promise” campaign was the construction of the IDC ( Innovation and Discovery Center) and the new science building’s official Dedication Ceremony is fast approaching on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. The IDC will now house the Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, which according to the Ursinus website, “helps mold thoughtful and responsible graduates … through programs that unite the Ursinus culture of research and creativity.”

     The IDC will also house the U-Imagine center, which has a goal of turning students’ “visions to reality.” According to Ursinus’ “Fiscal Year 2017 in Review,” by June 30, 2017, “Ursinus had raised $64.4 million in cash and pledges toward our Keep the Promise campaign goal.” This shows that Ursinus will continue to use funds from donors and alumni to add onto projects around campus, perhaps branching out and expanding different departments and services.

     From the information presented by Parker, it seems that some of Ursinus’ more expansive expenses—such as those that will go into the “Keep the Promise” campaign, and those that have already gone into it—are paid by donations. This is interesting, considering that only 4% of Ursinus’ revenues in the 2017-2018 year came from private gifts and grants. There are revenues reserved for certain expenses, which fluctuate depending on Ursinus’ current projects and campaigns.

     If you want to learn more about where your $64,800 goes, the “Fiscal Year in Review” can be found on the Ursinus website.


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