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Clarkson University Financial Priorities & 2009-2010 Charges

The following letter was sent March 13 by Clarkson University President Tony Collins to Clarkson families:

March 12, 2009

Dear Clarkson Family,

As I wrote to you in December, instability in the global economy presents numerous challenges for all of us to face. I am writing again today to provide information about University charges for the upcoming 2009-10 academic year as well as a straightforward context about Clarkson's financial priorities in order to maintain our core values. We remain committed to ensuring that every current Clarkson student can complete his or her degree program and to the principle that we deliver the academic rigor that prepares students for positions of leadership in the global economy.

Establishing tuition and fees is always a very deliberative process as we know the significance of investments families make in a son or daughters education, and even more so this year, given the national economic circumstances and the complex scenarios which we evaluated before moving forward. Like most academic institutions, tuition and fees, net of financial aid, only cover a part of the cost of a Clarkson education. The rest of the instructional costs are covered by income from our endowment as well as annual gifts to the University from friends aligned to our mission and from alumni who used their education as a stepping point into rewarding careers and wish to prioritize Clarkson in their personal philanthropy. While we are pleased that private gifts to the University have remained steady, income from the endowment has fallen sharply.

Throughout the fall semester, we took additional steps to protect the endowment, which is underpinning more than $42 million in financial aid for students this year. The endowment is solidly positioned for the long-term; however, Clarkson's short-term investment returns and earnings from the endowment have been significantly reduced as viable revenue streams for the University in the 2009-10 academic year.

As part of its budget plan for 2009-10, Clarkson's Board of Trustees has approved an increase in the published University charges of 5.78% to $44,028. Simultaneously, the Board has reserved substantial operating funds to provide additional financial aid targeted for those students whose financial circumstances have changed or who may be negatively impacted in the coming months ahead. We also have significantly increased our University work-study program and eligibility for all students who seek a campus job while attending school. We will be expanding options to gain professional experience in these work-study roles to further advance practical skills and resume credentials while providing direct income back to students.

This years tuition and fee decisions are modeled to give all students, to the extent possible, an opportunity to complete the degree they chose to pursue at Clarkson when they enrolled and to not cut the quality of academic instruction and extracurricular experiences that employers trust our students receive from our institution. When the financial aid and work-study funds are considered, the average overall increase to attend Clarkson will be under 3.9%. Clarkson's comprehensive cost of education remains lower than most of the peer institutions where our admission applications overlap each year.

In employee meetings across campus earlier this week and with the Board of Trustees, I shared my personal intention to not accept a salary increase this year. Faculty and staff understand that all wages will be frozen at their current levels and any earned increases deferred until January 2010 with the express intent that these savings go toward student aid. Across the institution, administrators are reprioritizing projects and thinking creatively about how to make changes that respond effectively to the current economic climate while maintaining the values that differentiate the Clarkson experience. For example, we are reorganizing a group of staff into a Student Success Center aimed at increasing the success rates of students who face problems from academic to emotional concerns.

In order to continue construction on projects that add to the quality of education and student life on campus as well as stimulate employment in our regional economy, we are leveraging private gifts and state-funded programs. These donor-driven activities are separate from our instruction and education costs.

The break down of the overall cost of attendance on the bill will be an undergraduate tuition cost of $32,220; room charges changed an average of 5.4% and meal plan options by an average of 4% (see html for the cost of each room and meal plan option). The Student Activity Fee set by the Clarkson University Student Association will remain at $250 per semester.

You have made the right choice in selecting Clarkson and pursuing an education immersed in the world realities of bringing discovery, engineering innovation and enterprise together. The best testimony to the quality of a Clarkson education remains the enthusiasm with which employers pursue our students and the acceptance of our students into the top graduate programs of their choice nationwide. Demand remains high for our graduates despite the difficult national economy and they continue to rise in international influence as one in six is already a CEO or senior executive of a company.

As always, my wife, Karen, and I look forward to meeting you on campus whenever possible and absolutely want to greet your entire family when it comes time for the commencement exercises that will celebrate your student's academic accomplishment and readiness for a rewarding career.


Anthony G. Collins President

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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