TCU Students and Parents Concerned Over 7.9% Increase in Undergraduate Tuition
TCU students and parents are expressing their concerns following the announcement of a 7.9% increase in undergraduate tuition for the 2024 school year. This is the largest percentage increase since at least 2011, with undergraduate tuition now reaching approximately $61,643 before additional fees, books, room, and board. As a result, TCU’s tuition surpasses that of Harvard University, which currently stands at $54,269.
The university’s decision comes shortly after celebrating a successful $1 billion fundraising campaign in October and investing over $200 million in the construction of more than 20 new buildings since 2012.
Many students and parents feel that this increase is an unexpected and unfair burden. Tong Williamson, whose son is a sophomore mathematics major, described it as a “bait and switch” tactic. While she acknowledged that inflation affects costs for everyone, Williamson argued that the university should take more responsibility in shouldering these expenses. She emphasized that parents are not receiving 7.9% pay raises to keep up with the rising tuition costs.
To address the impact of the increase, the university plans to enhance need-based financial aid. However, students with fixed scholarships will need to find alternative means to cover the additional $4,500 in tuition fees. Currently, approximately one-third of TCU students receive need-based financial aid, and upon graduation, students carry an average loan debt of $44,580.
The university asserts that the increase is necessary to maintain TCU’s commitment to excellence in academics, student experience, and services. However, it remains unclear whether any of the funds raised during the recent $1 billion “Lead On” campaign will be utilized to offset the financial burden on students.
TCU spokesperson Holly Ellman explained that both tuition and endowment funds contribute to supporting a personalized academic experience, as well as the university’s distinguished programs and faculty. Ellman highlighted the university’s commitment to increasing financial aid for qualifying students, as well as merit awards for academic performance. Notably, need-based financial aid has seen a 185% increase between 2012 and 2022.
Despite these reassurances, some students, like A.J. Patella, a sophomore general studies major, argue that tuition increases risk rendering the university unaffordable for middle-income families. Patella currently holds a work-study job that covers a portion of his tuition, but the remaining amount relies on his parents’ support. He expressed concern for the financial strain his parents face due to two substantial tuition increases during his time at TCU.
Both Patella and Williamson believe that the university should provide more transparency regarding how the tuition increase will be allocated. They point out that Chancellor Victor Boschini’s salary and benefits have increased by approximately 14% since 2015, according to tax filings. Additionally, TCU has experienced a 33% growth in undergraduate enrollment and faculty since 2011, with faculty pay rising by around 38% during the same period.
This tuition increase is the largest since 2011 when TCU experienced an 8% jump from $30,000 to $32,400. The current increase for the 2024 school year nearly doubles that amount. Furthermore, TCU’s tuition increase has outpaced inflation, which has risen by approximately 31% since 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In comparison, TCU’s tuition has increased by roughly 90%.
University data reveals that TCU’s revenue from tuition has increased by approximately 112% from $332.9 million in 2011 to $707.8 million in 2023.