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With concern mounting over the rising cost of a college education, Rochester Institute of Technology is taking new steps to evaluate university operations—engaging members of the RIT campus community to help target solutions that limit future tuition increases.
Recently, President Barack Obama identified wider access to higher education as a priority component of his administration’s economic agenda. In doing so, he challenged leaders at our nation’s colleges and universities to focus on controlling tuition costs.
RIT has simultaneously initiated an effort designed to lower annual increases to its own tuition. RIT President Bill Destler announced plans to identify less costly ways to operate the university.
“It seems clear that this is the right time for us, while we are not in a crisis or under financial stress, to rethink many of the ways in which we do business and expend precious tuition dollars,” states Destler. “We need to recognize that in order for us to remain financially strong and sound, we must do business more cost effectively in the future. We cannot count on ever-increasing tuition rates to cover all that we want to do.”
Through the creation of four university-based committees, RIT administrators, faculty, staff and alumni will examine current business practices and seek out more efficient models of operation. Organizational structure, procurement activities and in-sourcing business development, IT infrastructure, and benefits will serve as the primary focus areas. Campus leaders have identified best practices from peer institutions that they intend to include as part of the dialogue.
RIT has employed a variety of cost reductions in recent years to limit tuition increases and provide additional support to students in need of financial assistance. Tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year rose by 4.3 percent, down from an increase of 4.9 in the previous year. Destler is focused on keeping future tuition increases at RIT below 4 percent.
“Students and their families are counting on us to keep the opportunity of a college education within their reach,” he states. “We must be open to new ideas and explore new ways to accomplish our mission.”