March 28, 2000
Volume 46
Number 26

Total Student Charges 3.4% in 2000-2001:
Lowest Percentage Increase in Three Decades

Total student charges at the University of Pennsylvania will increase 3.4 percent for the 2000-01 academic year, the lowest percentage increase in more than three decades, President Judith Rodin announced on Thursday, March 23.

This 3.4 percent increase raises total student charges from $31,902 to $32,996 for next year. Breaking down this number, tuition and fees for undergraduate students in FY '01 will increase 3.9 percent, from $24,230 to $25,170; average room and board 2.0 percent, from $7,672 to $7,826.

The increase continues a three-year trend in which rates of increase in student charges at Penn are the lowest in three decades. The increase in total student charges was 3.7 percent for FY '00, with a 4.2 percent increase in tuition and fees; it was 3.9 percent for FY '99, with a 4.5 percent increase in tuition and fees. (See table below.)

"Once again, we have done everything possible to limit the rate of increase for both tuition and fees and total student charges for our undergraduates," Dr. Rodin said. "We are committed to continue to work to keep a Penn undergraduate education as affordable as possible and available to the best and the brightest students in the nation and around the world regardless of their economic circumstances."

She said that total student charges at Penn for the 2000-01 academic year are expected to be among the lowest in the Ivy League, based on charges already announced at Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

Dr. Rodin also said that with the demonstrated support of the Trustees, "we are able to maintain our need-blind admission policy," continuing to provide financial assistance to those students who demonstrate need throughout their undergraduate experience.

She said that Penn's undergraduate, need-based grant budget for the 2000-01 academic year will likely exceed the $54 million budgeted this year, reflecting "our continued commitment" to enrolling the most talented students without regard to their financial circumstances. More than 40 percent of the undergraduates at Penn received grant support from the University last year.

Dr. Rodin said that she and the trustees remain "enthusiastically committed" to Penn's campaign to raise $200 million to further enhance its endowment for undergraduate financial aid, one of the goals of Agenda for Excellence, the University's strategic plan. She said that well over $100 million has been raised to date.

"The trustees," she said, "continue to send a very clear, strong and positive message to present and future Penn students: This institution will continue to recruit and enroll the finest students, and no student will need to decline the opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the Penn experience for financial reasons."

Dr. Rodin added that Penn has received 18,806 applications for undergraduate admission for the class of 2004, an increase of 6.5 percent over the 17,666 applicants a year ago.

"Students and their parents are responding very positively to the scope and breadth of the educational opportunities afforded undergraduate students at Penn," Dr. Rodin said. "And our applicant pool is exceedingly broad-based." She said that extraordinary students, from throughout the United States and around the world, are continuing to apply to Penn in record numbers.

"We continue to hold the line on our costs, and we are maintaining our financial aid program as one of the nation's best," Dr. Rodin said, adding that both work to make possible a commitment "to continue to keep Penn's doors open to the nation's most qualified students."

Recent History of PennÕs Undergraduate Charge Increases

Academic Year

Total Student Charges

% Increase

1999-2000 $31,902 3.70%
1998-1999 30,762 3.90%
1997-1998 29,608 4.10%
1996-1997 28,442 4.60%

Commencement Speaker: Nobelist Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney, who received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature for "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past," will deliver the commencement address at Penn's 244th Commencement on Monday, May 22. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m.

A native of County Derry, Northern Ireland, Mr. Heaney is the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet in Residence at Harvard, and former professor of poetry at Oxford.

Mr. Heaney has been described as one of the world's great poets who has been "an eloquent spokesperson for the importance of language and literature in contemporary culture." His contributions to the literary world are both prolific and profound and include Death of a Naturalist, which won, among other honors, both the E. C. Gregory Award and the Somerset Maugham Award, and Door into the Dark, Wintering Out, and North, which share five prestigious literary awards between them.

Most recently, Mr. Heaney's translation of the epic poem Beowulf became the highest-selling book in Great Britain, hailed as "a masterpiece out of a masterpiece," and recognized with the Whitbread Book-of-the-Year Award.

"Seamus Heaney truly is a literary giant. He has not only earned critical acclaim, but is easily one of the most popular poets of our time. Mr. Heaney is one of the world's most accomplished scholars and teachers, and we are very, very pleased that he has agreed to speak to our graduates and their guests and will accept our recognition for his enormously important contributions to literature," Dr. Rodin said. The University will bestow upon Mr. Heaney an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the ceremony.

Mr. Heaney earned a degree in English from Queens College, Belfast, in 1961, where he began to write under the pseudonym "Incertus." In 1963, he accepted a position as lecturer in English at St. Joseph's College, Belfast, and, in 1966, became a lecturer in modern English literature at Queen's College.

Mr. Heaney published the award-winning Death of a Naturalist in 1966 and, a year later, Door into the Dark. In 1972, he published Wintering Out, which won the Denis Devlin Award and the Writer-in-Residence Award from the American Irish Foundation; in 1975, the critically-acclaimed North, which received the E.M. Forster Award and the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize.

In 1975, Mr. Heaney began teaching at Carysfort College in Dublin and remained there until 1981, when he began his association with Harvard as a visiting professor. In 1984, Mr. Heaney was appointed Bolyston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard a position he held until 1996. He was professor of poetry at Oxford from 1989 to 1994.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 26, March 28, 2000

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