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February 14, 2006 | by Alan K. Cubbage

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Total undergraduate costs at Northwestern University, including tuition, fees, room and board, will increase 5.2 percent to $43,818 in 2006-2007 from the current year’s $41,662, University officials announced today. The University’s Board of Trustees approved the costs for next year at its Feb. 11 meeting.

Undergraduate tuition and fees will increase 5.6 percent to $33,553 for the 2006-2007 academic year from the current year’s $31,789. The fees include an undergraduate student activity fee of $120 and an athletic events fee of $25 that allows full-time undergraduate students to be admitted without charge to all of Northwestern’s home athletic events, including football and basketball games. Both fees will not increase next year.

Room and board rates will increase 4 percent to $10,265 from $9,873 for an undergraduate student living in a double room and on a 19-meal-per-week board plan. Approximately 4,200 of Northwestern’s 7,800 undergraduate students live in University residence halls.

The cost increase will help pay for salary and benefit increases for Northwestern faculty and staff in the coming year, maintaining support for financial aid programs and significant increases in utility costs that the University faces.

Continuing its long-standing policy, Northwestern will increase the total amount of grant funds for undergraduates by the same percentage as the tuition increase for the coming year. Northwestern provides more than $60 million annually from its own funds in scholarships to undergraduates. More than 40 percent of Northwestern's undergraduates receive grants and scholarships from the University, and approximately 60 percent receive some form of assistance, including grants, external scholarships, loans or work-study funds.

Northwestern also will continue its policy of "need-blind" admission for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, in which a student's ability to pay is not considered during the admission process.

Northwestern's total costs are less than the average for major private research universities. Among a group of 16 similar institutions that includes Ivy League universities, Chicago, Duke, Stanford, Washington University in St. Louis and others, Northwestern's total costs for the current year rank 10th out of the 16.

The Board of Trustees also approved tuition rates for most of Northwestern’s graduate and professional programs. Graduate school tuition will increase by 5.6 percent to $33,408 next year; law school tuition will increase 6 percent to $40,410; and tuition at the Feinberg School of Medicine will increase 3.5 percent to $38,618. Tuition for the Kellogg School of Management will be finalized later this year.