Amherst College Trustees Approve Comprehensive Fee Increase, Announce $900,000 in New Support for Financial Aid

March 29, 2000
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

Amherst, MA — The Amherst College Board of Trustees has established $32,400 as the College’s comprehensive fee for 2000-01. This figure represents a 3.3% increase over this year’s comprehensive fee, which includes tuition, room and board. The increase is the lowest percentage increase in 35 years.

At the same time, the Board approved a new annual expenditure of more than $900,000 to the College’s financial aid budget that will allow the college to reduce or completely eliminate loans for a broad range of low- and middle-income families. This action will provide increased support not only for new students in the entering Class of 2004, but for current students as well.

"While Amherst’s financial aid policies have always led the way in emphasizing low loan-indebtedness, we are pleased to be able to take these additional steps to further enhance our already significant aid program," said Amherst College President Tom Gerety. "We’re also proud that this action reinforces Amherst’s longstanding commitment to equity and access in financial aid by providing additional support to those students and families who most need it."

Amherst maintains a need-blind admission policy that ensures that a student’s admission to Amherst is not influenced by financial need. In addition, Amherst ensures that any student admitted to the College will receive financial aid equal to determined need. Amherst also has a longstanding commitment to providing only need-based aid, rather than merit scholarships.

Consistently ranked among the nation’s best liberal arts colleges, Amherst also has been ranked as a "Best Value" by U.S. News & World Report, which also has noted that Amherst students have one of the lowest average levels of indebtedness at graduation. In addition, Amherst ranked sixth in a survey of the "Top 100 Values in Private Colleges" published in the September 1999 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. The survey evaluated which private colleges and universities provide an excellent education "but also care about how much it costs."

Amherst’s comprehensive fee comprises 60% of the College’s operating budget. Amherst’s endowment — which on June 30, 1999, stood at $634.5 million — makes up 22% of the operating budget. Gifts to the college comprise 12% of the operating budget. Increased support for financial aid is one of the priorities of The Amherst College Campaign, which aims to raise $200 million by June 30, 2001. Of the $200 million campaign total, $38 million is dedicated to financial aid. To date, the campaign has raised $24 million toward the $38 million financial aid goal.

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