The Elon University Board of Trustees recently approved the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, which includes an undergraduate tuition increase of 3.99 percent. This increase is the smallest in tuition since the 2004-2005 academic year.

Tuition will total $28,633 with room, board and fees set at $9,827 for the 2012- 2013 school year.

Finding a balance between improving the quality of Elon’s programs and keeping the tuition price low is a top priority when setting the budget, according to Gerald Whittington, vice president of business, finance and technology.

[quote]We want to make sure we moderate any tuition increases we’ve got as part of our Strategic Plan.[/quote]

“We are very aware of the national economy and the effects on students and their parents and try to have the least increase we can possibly have,” he said.

Elon is consistently named a “Best Value School,” and maintaining that reputation is part of The Elon Commitment, Whittington said. The other initiatives outlined in The Elon Commitment will continue to be provided for in the coming year despite such a minimal budget increase.

“The big take-away to me is it’s the smallest increase since 2004-2005, but still we were able to provide for all the things in The Elon Commitment Strategic Plan that we needed to do,” Whittington said. “I think there are some very exciting and interesting things to come out of that.”

The budget will allow for the addition of 12 new full-time faculty positions and 28 new staff positions, continued investment in the Student Professional Development Center, expansion of Elon’s study abroad programs, summer programs and domestic study away programs and a 9.5 percent increase in financial aid.

Before the budget is proposed to the Board of Trustees, it is seen and remodeled by a number of committees and faculty members, Whittington said. The process begins in late summer, when Whittington meets with President Leo Lambert and Provost Steven House to discuss the parameters for the upcoming year’s budget.

“We want to make sure we moderate any tuition increases we’ve got as part of our Strategic Plan,” Whittington said. “We get sort of a working template for development of the budget."

In the fall, the template is shared with the Board of Trustee’s Executive Committee and the Business and Finance Committee. The proposal is ultimately received by the budget committee, which is made up of faculty members, staff members, House, Whittington and Gerry Francis, the executive vice president.

“We start the hard work of figuring out OK, how much revenue are we going to likely see, how much expenses do we have,” Whittington said. “Every year, the requested increases are way up here and the revenues are way down here, and you end up having to whittle away until you find the very best ideas.”

After two budget forums are held, the proposed budget is sent to Lambert. If approved, the budget moves to the Business and Finance Committee and then to the full Board of Trustees.

“The board takes its role very seriously, so we had a really excellent set of discussions," Whittington said. "There was good questioning about things, so that we're crystal clear about what we meant"