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Student Fees Keep Climbing

MONEY

By Nicholas Lemann

The news is, minus the subtleties, pretty much the same as it was last year: for the eighth year in a row, undergraduate student fees will go up a good deal. Tuition, room and board together will rise about $500 next year, to a total of $6430 in 1976-77 fees.

But if the increases continue apace, the rate of increase is starting to slack off. Last year's rise in fees was $580, and the current hike represents slightly higher rates of increase in tuition and board and a much lower one in room costs.

Robert E. Kaufmann '62, who as assistant dean of the Faculty of financial affairs and figures these things out, says the slackening of room cost increases is due to the energy crisis coming a little more under control.

Two years ago, energy costs zoomed so unexpectedly that they created a deficit in the Faculty's housing account. So last year, the board raise was large, $150, to make up for the deficit and bring a slight surplus.

In the Byzantine manner of Harvard finances, the Faculty needed the surplus to repay a loan from something called the Montague Fund, a pot of money that the Corporation controls and lent part of it to the Faculty for the purchase of storm windows.

The $150 raise did, as expected, produce a surplus, so next year's board raise will be $50. The loan from the Montague Fund, by the way, will take seven years--at $100,000 a year--to repay.

Food costs are going up another $100--last year's raise was $90--because of inflation and because the kitchen workers got a handsome 50-cent-an-hour raise in a new contract negotiated over the summer. Kaufmann says the final food raise (all the raises will be submitted in final form to the Corporation at the end of the month) may be slightly less than $100.

Tuition, unlike room and board, is not directly tied to the budget of a single department like Food Services or Buildings and Grounds. Rather, it is meant to balance as closely as possible the whole $50 million budget of the Faculty.

Next year, Dean Rosovsky wants to break even, so tuition is going up about $350, $10 more than it rose last year.

"When I came here," Kaufmann says, "you expected one tuition increase in the time you were here. Years before that, you'd think sometimes they'd almost forgotten about it. But now, the days of stable student fees are gone."

The total raise for next year will be around 8.5 per cent, a figure that came about from attempts by Faculty officials to fall as far below 10 per cent and as close to 7.5 per cent as possible. If it had been 7.5 percent, Kaufmann says he would have "danced a jig;" as it is now, he's moderately happy.

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