Budget, Tuition Approved
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At its February meeting in Cairo this week, AUC’s Board of Trustees approved a balanced budget for the 2018-2019 academic year. Keeping the annual tuition increase substantially below Egypt’s current inflation rate, the Board approved a 5 percent increase to undergraduate and graduate tuition fees.
AUC has also focused on increasing financial assistance to attract and retain top performing students by allocating 20 percent of gross tuition to scholarships, fellowships and financial aid. The University also introduced new measures –– an early payment incentive plan and student tuition loans –– to help families pay tuition. In addition, the approved budget earmarks more than $5 million directly to support academic initiatives and the student experience to enhance AUC’s quality of education.
News@AUC met with Gordon Handke, AUC’s chief financial officer and associate vice president for finance, to understand more about the 2018-2019 budget and tuition.
How is tuition determined?
The University sets tuition, which is approved by the Board, through a detailed process that includes weighing the need to balance the budget -- which the Board approved as $173.7 million for next year -- and improve the quality of education while helping keep our tuition as low as possible for our families. With the floatation of the Egyptian pound more than a year ago and its subsequent sharp loss of value, AUC was confronted by two opposing trends in tuition, depending on the currency. In the last five years, AUC’s tuition in U.S. dollars has continued to decline. In other words, a student would be paying less in dollar terms in 2018 than in 2013. Looking at tuition in pounds, on the other hand, shows a steep rise. Since a significant portion of AUC expenses are in dollars, the mismatch is difficult.
In setting the 2018-2019 tuition fees, the Board of Trustees kept the annual tuition increase at 5 percent –– significantly below Egypt’s inflation rate, which has reached nearly 24 percent. AUC understands the financial pressure on families in these challenging times, and that’s why it has kept the annual tuition increase to a minimum. Tuition for international students remains at current levels since these fees are already considerably higher than the fees paid by Egyptian students.
Have scholarships and financial aid increased as well?
Absolutely. Not only has the University kept the tuition increase far below the national inflation rate, it has also focused on scholarships and financial aid to address affordability in Egyptian pound terms. For the 2018-2019 academic year, financial assistance –– which includes scholarships, fellowships and financial aid –– is increasing to 20 percent of gross tuition compared to 18 percent of gross tuition in the current academic year.
How much of AUC’s income does tuition represent? And what does this mean?
Tuition represents only 65 percent of AUC’s revenue. This means that tuition does not fully cover the cost of an AUC education for any one student. Every student at AUC is subsidized because no student pays more than 65 percent of the cost of his or her education. In addition, about 50 percent of our students receive financial assistance to study at the University. This all makes philanthropic giving to support AUC of utmost importance.
What are the new tuition payment incentives? Why has AUC taken such initiative?
Two new initiatives, an early payment incentive plan and student tuition loans, will be implemented for the Fall 2018 semester. In addition, the current tuition installment plan will continue. AUC has introduced these incentives to assist students and parents in fulfilling their education financing obligations.
With the introduction of these new incentives, what are the current tuition financing options available to students and their families?
Three tuition financing options are currently available: 1) early payment incentive plan, 2) student tuition loans and 3) tuition installment plan.
Could you tell us more about the two new initiatives? Let’s start with the early payment incentive plan.
Through this plan, a 2 percent reduction in tuition fees per semester for returning students is provided for tuition fees paid in full 60 calendar days in advance from the starting date of classes.
What about the student tuition loans?
AUC is acting as a facilitator with local banks to offer loans to parents and graduate students to cover the cost of student tuition. The loan proceeds would be provided to AUC at the beginning of the semester or academic year to cover the tuition fees. The loan arrangement would be directly between parents and the bank. The University would only be involved in communicating the details of the bank proposals to students and their parents and in assisting the banks to deliver their marketing campaigns. In March 2018, AUC will hold a session on campus where the banks will be present to answer student and parent questions and to provide more information on the tuition loans.
You said the current tuition installment plan would continue as well.
Yes, this is what’s commonly referred to as deferred payment, or paying in installments. The first installment is due at the beginning of the semester, and the remaining tuition is to be paid in one or two installments within the following two months thereafter.
What are the different methods available for paying tuition?
AUC offers various methods for paying tuition: 1) cash, 2) bank drafts or certified checks, 3) online payment, 4) bank transfers, 5) Commercial International Bank’s AUC branch MasterCard payment (credit or debit card) and 5) New York Office payments. Online and electronic payments are encouraged to facilitate ease of payment and reduce processing time.