Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty-one Years of Service to the Student


Learning Where Tuition Money Goes

Jim Prince speaks at Financial Forum (Van Forsman / The Index)

On April 7, Kalamazoo College’s Vice President of Business and Finance Jim Prince presented the breakdown of the College’s revenue sources, expenses, and constraints at the annual Financial Forum.

In early March, the College announced a 4.25 percent increase in the comprehensive fee for the 2016-2017 school year. Jazzilyn Dubois K’17, Jasmine Kyon K’17, and Andrew Laverenz K’17 are the student representatives for finance-related Board of Trustees committees. They organized this Forum to focus on where tuition money.

The forum presentation included charts of revenue and expenses within K’s $46-47 million operating budget. “[We need to think about] what are the strategic issues that we need to accomplish so the students have the best possible education they can–what’s the cost of that?” Prince said.

Tuition is reduced by an unfunded discount, meaning K forfeits 50 percent of tuition revenue. It also means no student pays the sticker price for the comprehensive fee.

According to Prince, deciding the comprehensive fee process begins in the fall when the school looks at assumptions and the budget. They meet with the Finance Committee in October, again around late November with updated data, and for a third time in January to make a tuition rate proposal. In February, the Finance Committee makes a recommendation to the Executive Committee, who finalizes the comprehensive fee and sends it to the Admissions office to package financial aid awards.

The CCPD’s 2015 first-destination survey data showed that 76 percent of students have jobs and 13 percent are enrolled in graduate schools after graduation.

“It speaks to the quality of education that K is providing,” Prince said. “The educational experience is primarily because of the faculty, but it is also because of the experiences we involve you in, whether it be in study abroad, the work in the community for service learning, the SIPs that you do.”

Students raised questions about divestment, to which Prince said students could petition if they are not satisfied with the current divestment state. When compared to a public university, the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Eric Staab noted the differences in the classroom experience and class sizes, as well as how out-of-pocket expenses are comparable; and room and board costs, which was said to be a critical part of the residential college experience.

Students can view financial statements on the Business Office’s website or contact Prince or Laverenz for more information.

Kieran Williams K’16 left the Forum with many questions remaining, especially about K’s investments. “There were many student voices present with a wide range of concerns, and very limited time to address them,” Williams said. “I see the forum as a starting point for more open and democratic dialogue between the administration and the community about the finances of the school.”

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Learning Where Tuition Money Goes