Students to pay almost 4% more to attend Bates College

·2 min read

Apr. 28—LEWISTON — Bates College is hiking the cost of attendance next year by a tad less than 4%.

The college's single fee — covering tuition, room and board — is slated to rise to $81,382 for the academic year beginning with the fall semester. That's a $3,092 increase over this year's tab.

The college's increase, though higher than it typically charges, is less than the national inflation rate, which the U.S. Department of Labor said was 5% for the 12 months ending in March.

"This increase is slightly larger than it has been in recent years, which reflects the inflationary pressures that our community, including our students, their families, and our employees, are experiencing," Geoffrey Swift, vice president for finance, said.

Bates warned in January that it faced potential financial hardships and that its single fee could not go up enough to cover rising costs in many areas.

Swift said that "as we shared in a message to our community in January, looking forward at the complex dynamics we face in 2023 and beyond, it was necessary to make budget reductions in response to those pressures, even factoring in this single fee increase. We continue to prioritize our students and our employees and our budgeting process reflects this."

Bates' new price tag is lower than the $83,720 fee that Colby College charged for this academic year. Colby hasn't said what next year's students will pay.

Bowdoin College this year charged a little less than what Bates is asking for next year. But Bowdoin students will likely see an increase that put its cost about the tab for Bates.

Some of Bates' peers in the New England Small College Athletic Association are raising prices at a more rapid clip than the Lewiston college.

Middlebury College in Vermont, for instance, announced in January it would hike its tuition and fees by 4.5% for the fall semester. Trinity College in Connecticut plans a 4.2% increase.

The cost of tuition and fees is somewhat misleading, however, since Bates and its peers offer financial aid to about 40% of their students, many of whom wind up paying less than they would at public universities.

A 2020 study by the Bates Student, the college's newspaper, found that Bates increased its fees by about $2,000 annually since 1997, a little faster than it hiked its financial aid totals.