GWU Raises Tuition to More Than $39,000

Saturday, February 10, 2007

George Washington University acknowledges having the highest tuition in the country. And yesterday, the board of trustees voted to raise it again.

Tuition for next year's freshmen will be more than $39,000, an increase of 3.8 percent. That's before they pay for housing and food.

"I'm paying over $5,000 a semester" for housing, junior Theresa Lamontagne said.

As for tuition, she said, "like everybody else, I feel they're probably charging too much. The fact that it's going up is ridiculous." She worries about the cost, she said, because she plans to go to graduate school and knows that she will be paying off loans for a long time.

GWU offers fixed tuition rates, so students pay the same amount for up to five years after starting at the school, and a student's financial aid is guaranteed not to drop.

At the board meeting, trustees talked about placing greater emphasis on need-based aid -- as opposed to merit-based scholarships designed to lure top students.

Lamar Thorpe, the Student Association president, said tuition is not a big issue at GWU, in part because parents often pay for it and in part because students think they're getting a great education.

Thorpe, a senior, said he has paid for his education on his own, with financial aid, a job in the Navy Reserve and a part-time job at a loading dock. He is $60,000 in debt. But, he said, he walks around campus and sees where the money goes: new buildings, new programs. "I think people are going to come regardless of how much it costs," he said.

-- Susan Kinzie

© 2007 The Washington Post Company