Rice University Is Still A Value. An Expensive Value, But A Value

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In 2003, tuition to Rice University was $18,850. By 2008, it had risen to $29,960 - an increase of $11,110, or about 59 percent.

Does that mean Rice is losing its reputation as the go-to school for an awesome, awesomely priced education? Apparently not.

Despite the steep tuition increase, Rice was recently named one of the top five private schools on two best-value lists - that of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, and the Princeton Review's "Best Value Colleges for 2009."

Chris Muñoz, Rice's Vice President of Enrollment, tells Hair Balls that although tuition has gone up, Rice is still cheaper than other schools. "They look at the sticker price in relation to other universities...So when you look at the sticker price of other highly select universities, you'll note that our price is actually six- or eight-thousand below." Rice students also graduate with less debt than their peers.

Asked why tuition has increased, Muñoz listed a number of factors, including the construction of a new rec center, pavilion and two colleges. Some funding comes from gifts, but not all. He also mentioned the cost of attracting top-level faculty and rising energy costs. Imagine your own increased light bill, he says, then "take that and multiply it ten times over. That's what you're going to see in increased costs."

Tuition actually didn't rise from 2007 to 2008. Let's hope the same is true next year.

- Cathy Matusow

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