Date: Friday, May 12, 2017
From: NYU President Andrew Hamilton

Dear Members of the NYU Community,

As we come to the close of the 2016-17 academic year, I am pleased to share with you the year-end update from the Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group.

Building an Affordability Culture that Builds upon Itself

There is no easy solution to the issue of affordability at NYU, no silver bullet. It is a priority on which we will have to continue to work.

My hope is that what we have begun to do in the last year goes beyond developing specific ideas – whether they be faculty scrutinizing booklists to reduce the number of required textbook purchases, or revising our meal plans to offer less costly options, or making it easier for some students to graduate in under four years – and more broadly builds and sustains a culture in which everyone is involved in rethinking how we do what we do.

We have seen early, positive signs that this can happen. Affordability has been an effort that built upon itself. It was one of the first, and certainly the most prominent, issue I heard about in the weeks following my arrival at NYU, and not only from students and parents, but from faculty, administrators, and staff, too. We responded promptly by reducing the growth in undergraduate tuition, as we have again this year, and by establishing the Committee and the Working Group. They sought out input from the NYU community, which responded with great energy and a wide range of ideas. Some of those ideas gave rise to others.

As I said, there is no easy solution to affordability at NYU. However, we are making real progress, and that progress belongs to us all. That’s the first step in making it a sustainable and ongoing part of our culture.

Restraining the Growth in Cost of Attendance Again

In keeping with that approach, we are planning once again to restrain the increase in next year’s undergraduate tuition and fees and to designate more student beds as low-cost. Tuition and fees for Washington Square undergraduates for 2017-18 will increase by 2.9% over this year, and room and board will increase by 0.6% for entering freshmen; the overall increase in cost of attendance will be 2.3% for freshmen. Like last year, these increases are significantly less than those of most peer schools as well as NYU’s year-to-year increases in recent years. 

This and last year’s increase taken together will mark the lowest two-year increase in cost of attendance in 20 years.

In addition, we will designate 50 more beds in the student residence system as low-cost. That means that lower cost beds now make up nearly 30% of the student residence system.

Sustaining the Effort

I have asked the Steering Committee and Working Group to continue their work into next year. I want them to build on the initiatives they announced this year; solicit new, additional ideas from members of the NYU community; engage with faculty and administrators on how we might fulfill our academic mission more effectively and efficiently; and keep the affordability of an NYU education, access to an NYU education, and the value of an NYU education at the forefront of our efforts and thoughts.

I want to thank Ellen Schall and all the members of the Steering Committee and Working Group for the excellent work so far and the important work yet to come.

Andrew Hamilton