Board of Trustees Meets for April Meeting, Raises Comprehensive Fee 3.95% to $77,270

4 min read

Brendan W. Clark ’21

Editor-in-Chief

President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney announced updates following the Board of Trustee’s April meeting in an email Wednesday afternoon, including a tuition increase of 3.95% to $77,270, which would return Trinity close to the top again as among the most expensive in the NESCAC league, slightly behind Connecticut College at $77,315.

Last year, amidst the pandemic, the Board declined to increase the comprehensive fee, leaving rates set the same as the prior academic year. In April 2019, the Tripod reported that the Board increased the comprehensive fee by 3.75% to $74,350. Berger-Sweeney indicated that “most Trinity families” will not pay the full $77,270 because of the College’s “robust financial aid program that meets the full determined need of all admitted students.” The cost of a Trinity degree for the Class of 2025, assuming that there are no tuition increases over the next four years and excluding the costs of books, would be $309,080.

The $77,270 figure includes $58,610 for tuition, $2,330 in general fees, $10,350 for a standard room, and $5,550 for a meal plan for a total of $76,840. This also includes the $430 student activities fee, according to a chart that accompanied Berger-Sweeney’s email. The standard room fee does not cover all student housing, specifically the Crescent Town Houses, which usually incur an additional $1,500 fee.

The Board, according to Berger-Sweeney, also approved a FY22 capital budget of $14.1 million. That budget will be funded though “budgeted dollars, philanthropic support, and new bond financing.” Approved projects include the “replacement of the steam line,” “roof repairs to the Chapel,” “construction of the stadium project at Jessee/Miller Field and Robin L. Sheppard Field,” “renovations to cultural houses,” “construction of high-quality spaces for remote and hybrid teaching/learning,” “creation of gender-inclusive restrooms in Mather hall,” and “several deferred maintenance projects.”

Replacement of the steam line will cost $3,500,000 and will be financed by bond. Chapel, stadium renovations, and cultural house renovations will be financed by philanthropy at the cost of approximately $6,200,000. The installation of gender-inclusive restrooms will cost $280,000. The total cost of specific capital projects, including those relative to deferred maintenance, was outlined in a separate attachment.

Berger-Sweeney also indicated that philanthropy-funded renovations to the Vernon Social Center would be forthcoming “in a separate communication soon.”

An operating budget for FY22 was not approved at the April meeting and will be considered “later this spring. The Tripod reported last week that this delay would allow for “additional time to continue working with the Planning and Budget Council to collect additional information that will inform a final decision” in an interview with Chief of Staff to the President Jason Rojas. Berger-Sweeney did indicate that any future operating budget does not “anticipate any new employee furloughs, layoffs, or salary freezes in the coming year.” As the Tripod previously reported, the College terminated eleven employees last June and furloughed 136 in response to the financial constraints imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Four Trustees terms end this June, according to Berger-Sweeney’s communication, and were recognized for their service at the April meeting: Christine Elia ’96, Susannah Heschel ’73, H’10, Danny Meyer ’80, P ’20, Vice Chair Michael Kluger ’78, P’13, and chair Cornelia P. Thornburgh ’80.

Additionally, four faculty members were awarded tenure by the Board and received promotion to the rank of full professor: Molly Helt in psychology and neuroscience; Peter Kyle in theater and dance; Timothy Landry in anthropology and religious studies; and Robert Outten in psychology.

The Board also unanimously voted to rename Wheaton Hall at the April meeting following concerns about Nathaniel Wheaton, an Episcopal minister’s, past historical actions relative to race. The building was temporarily renamed “Trinity Hall” and the Committee on Named Facilities and Commemoratives, reconstituted earlier in April, will “propose a new name for the building in due course.” While acknowledging the change, Berger-Sweeney indicated that Wheaton was an “original trustee, former president, and professor” who was “integral to the college’s founding.” She also acknowledged Wheaton’s secured gifts that “continue to benefit the college to this day” and stressed that the decision does not seek to “simply erase or cancel individuals or events from our long history.” The Board also “committed to anti-racism training” at their June retreat.

Berger-Sweeney had previously announced plans to rename Seabury Hall, named for Reverend Samuel Seabury, a founding leader of the Episcopal Church, in July 2020 but relented in April after admitting factual errors in “a citation” that she used to make the original determination.

The Board also passed a resolution commending the efforts of the Trinity College community during the coronavirus pandemic.

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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