SMU tuition cost ranks among highest in nation

SMU tuition costs have increased over the last four years. SMU ranks as one of the most expensive universities to attend in the United States. (Photo Illustration by Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus)

Pepperdine, Dartmouth, Duke and Southern Methodist University all share one thing in common- high tuition. On Oct. 6, Campus Grotto announced these schools as some of the most expensive schools in the nation: costing more than $55,000 to attend per year.

SMU ranks No. 68 on the 100 most expensive colleges. The total cost of an SMU education for the 2012-2013 academic year is $55,475. The cost includes tuition and fees, which totaled $41,750, and average room and board. Last year, tuition and fees totaled $39,430.

Sophomore Hansel Reyes, who was recently admitted to SMU, plans to go through four years at the Cox School of Business. However, if the price of tuition continues to increase he may have to reconsider his expectations.

“I really hope I am able to finish my major at SMU,” Reyes said. “Being able to attend is both an honor and blessing, but if tuition increases there is a chance it might end up forcing me to retire my education.”

Reyes, like many other students at SMU, questions why tuition costs have risen over the last year. Despite rising tuition going up, his awards in scholarships and financial aid have not increased.

“Why would it need to increase anyway? If it wasn’t for the scholarships granted to me I would definitely not be able to afford going to SMU,” Reyes said. “I think I’m not alone and this may be the case for other students as well.”

Senior Brittany Dickey has worked hard to off-set the rising costs. The communication studies major also cites financial aid as part of the reason she is able to afford an SMU education.

“Financial aid and scholarships have been a major help to my academic career. I was working full time and taking night classes before transferring to SMU,” Dickey said. “I would not be here without financial aid.”

Many students depending on scholarships and financial aid hope that tuition will not increase over the next couple of years. SMU News and Communications’ Executive Director Kent Best explained that with rising operating costs, there’s no guarantee the price will stay the same.

“While university leaders have focused on making efficient use of resources across campus, operating costs have continued to increase in areas that impact the quality of students’ education,” Best said. “The trustees recognize that the nation’s economic uncertainties continue to affect not only SMU’s endowment value, but also the household budgets of our students and their families.”

To help SMU families, the university annually awards more than $91 million in scholarships and grants to undergraduate students.

As of last year, financial aid packages for tuition costs including scholarships and grants came to the aid of 75 percent of students attending SMU.

Whether or not tuition continues to increase, Best said SMU is worth the money.

“We believe the educational experience SMU provides graduates for rewarding careers and civic leadership,” Best said.

“A college education is a major investment with returns that are life-changing and lasting.”

Tell us what you think.