By Brooke DellaRocco, Staff Writer
Over the last 100 years Manhattan College, along with colleges around the nation, have seen fluctuating tuition prices.
As MC is a private institution in New York City, tuition prices have constantly changed and varied. According to manhattan.edu, the average tuition price for the 2022-2023 school year is $44,100. This, however, is calculated without many other expenses such as room and board, transportation, books and supplies. When factored in, it’s predicted to amount to $70,398 to attend MC, with the average actual cost of attendance, including scholarships and aid, being $40,000 a year.
Comparatively, in 1922, MC’s tuition was only $150, according to the Manhattan College Pamphlet from the 1922-1923 school year. At the time this was a very large sum compared to the value of money.
This means that in today’s money standard, attendance at MC would be around $2,661. In 1922, payments for each semester were required in advance with additional payments for extra services including room, rent and board, use of laboratory, use of library, typewriting fee, graduation fee and certificate fee. There was also a cost to be involved in athletics or “Athletic Association,” as the pamphlet states.
In the current standard, students are essentially “paid” to participate in athletics through scholarship programs and represent the school.
Another important aspect to note about the college in 1922 is the amount of commuters and the presence of a largely commuter-oriented school. At the time, a larger percentage of students rented rooms. Because of this, the room and board price of 1922-23 seems to be exceptionally high compared to the basic tuition price.
Room and board at MC was totalled at $500 in 1922, which is $8,870 in today’s currency. This is almost four times the price of traditional tuition.
Terry Gaffney, a MC alum, spoke about his experiences at the college during 1969-1974. Gaffney was the first graduate with a degree in urban studies and was both a resident and commuter during his time at MC.
Gaffney told The Quadrangle his freshman year the tuition price for one semester was $1,165. During his sophomore year, tuition jumped with a 9% increase to a sum of $1,295.
“For a lot of us who were paying for our own tuition it just made it next to impossible. So we actually had a tuition strike,” Gaffney said.
In 1970, at least 600 students took class off for two days to gather in the Quadrangle and strike against the rising costs. They held up banners reading “No say, no pay,” and “No tuition increase,” in an attempt to have their voices heard. However, the cost still remained the same, and Gaffney had to leave school after his sophomore year because he needed to work more to suffice the price. Gaffney pushed through and graduated in 1974.
“The tuition, it was a burden. I know that quite a few of my friends were either on work study programs, or almost all my friends had jobs at night and on weekends, because many of us were paying our own way,” Gaffney said.
Gaffney also commented on how much MC has changed since he’s been a student; visiting at least 2 times a month, he sees this first hand.
“The biggest difference is that there were no women. All men. The attitude on campus was a lot looser. There was no policy on cut classes, you could cut classes as much as you wanted to as long as you did the work,” Gaffney said.
Gaffney is currently on the Board of Trustees and looks at aspects surrounding tuition often. When asked about the current tuition price and amount of aid given out to students he talked about the Board of Trustees plans.
“The amount of student aid that has been given out over the last eight years has grown to a point where it is not sustainable. So we are trying hard to narrow our focus on where the aid goes,” Gaffney said.
With the Christian Brothers mission being to educate the poor, it becomes difficult to balance giving out as much aid as they possibly can versus maintaining a budget.
When asking current students about their financial situations surrounding the college, the vast majority believed that MC was very generous with their tuition prices.
One freshman, who wishes to remain anonymous, expressed her gratitude towards the school and shared her tuition prices with The Quadrangle. She currently pays $23,000 a year to attend and discussed the numerous grants and scholarships she received to bring this number down.
When applying to colleges, she specifically looked at larger schools such as UMass Amerherst and Tufts University, both with tuition ranging from $30,000-60,000.
Another freshman, Maggie Shediac, discussed the influence of the prices on her decision to come to MC.
“The money aspect was pretty big. I come from a very money-conscious family,” Shediac said.
Given current world events, Shediac expressed her understanding of the rising prices of schools. Paying $33,000 a year, she feels as if she has gotten a good deal and values the education she is receiving from MC.
“From my point of view, it’s a pretty big deal. A lot of the bigger schools that I applied to, I know they have the money for scholarships and I didn’t get as much from them. Looking at it from that perspective I would say, overall it’s nice,” Shediac says.
That being said, both freshmen believe that the school needs to update a lot of their facilities. The anonymous freshmen source talked about her disapproval of the food and rooms here at MC, and voiced her beliefs that for the amount of money she’s paying the expectations were not met.
“I’m very grateful for the amount of money they awarded me, but I also think that especially in the food department, that price could be scaled down,” she said.
With so many fluctuations to experience in the future, all eyes will fall to the coming years awaiting the next big event that will change the tuition prices yet again.