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Trustees Set Tuition, Approve New School of Korean

March 13, 2014

The Middlebury College Board of Trustees has approved a tuition increase of 2.5 percent to $45,637 for the 2014–2015 academic year. This is the fifth consecutive year that Middlebury College has limited the increase in tuition to 1 percentage point above inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI increased by 1.5 percent in 2013.

The board also approved a 4.5 percent increase in the College’s room and board charge to $13,116. Total tuition and room and board for the 2014–15 academic year will be $58,753, compared with $57,075 for the current year—a 2.94 percent increase. The student activity fee next year will be $407, an increase of $12. The 2014–15 fees were approved at the trustees’ meeting on February 22.

This year’s increase in total costs is expected to be one of the lowest among Middlebury College’s peer schools.

In February 2010, citing the need to control the cost of higher education, President Ronald D. Liebowitz announced that Middlebury College would endeavor to limit increases in what was then called the comprehensive fee (tuition plus room and board) to no more than 1 percentage point above the annual increase in the CPI, as determined at the end of the previous calendar year. At the time, Middlebury did not itemize the tuition and room and board components of its fee.

Since 2010, Middlebury has seen its cost of attendance fall below that of many of its competitors. In the 2013–14 year, the College was 18th out of 21 peer schools ranked by total cost of attendance, including tuition and room and board charges and mandatory student fees.

School of Korean

At its February 22 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of an 11th summer Middlebury Language School: The School of Korean. The school is expected to open in the summer of 2015. Korean is one of the 20 most-spoken languages in the world, with more than 75 million speakers. Each summer about 1,500 students enroll in one of the Middlebury Language Schools, either in Middlebury, Vermont, or on the Mills College campus in Oakland, California.

Middlebury Institute of International Studies Master Plan

The Board of Trustees also approved a master plan for the Middlebury Institute of International Studies campus in downtown Monterey, California. The long-term plan, which involves closing a portion of Pierce Street that bisects the campus, creating a central pedestrian mall, is still subject to approval by the City of Monterey. If approved by the city, Middlebury will initiate a planning process to create a timetable and financing plan for the project as well as more detailed architectural plans for the buildings and open spaces.

Other Business

The Building and Grounds Committee heard an update on the upcoming renovations and winterization at the Bread Loaf Inn, the main building on Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vermont. The board approved the project at its May 2013 meeting. The College has asked for bids from several general contractors; construction on the $7.5 million project is expected to begin in the fall. The project will include work that is required to keep the building in conformance with safety and accessibility codes. The winterization work will allow the building to be used for academic and other purposes during colder months. Work is scheduled to be completed within 28 weeks so that the campus can open in time for the May 2015 Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf.

At the Saturday meeting, Vice President for Planning and Assessment Susan Campbell Baldridge briefed trustees on the state of the online learning landscape within higher education. The presentation was a follow-up to the board's discussion in December of a report by the Online Pedagogy Working Group. Baldridge provided examples of other institutions' goals for engaging in online initiatives and showed how technology is employed in a spectrum of course formats, from traditional face-to-face classes to fully online courses and MOOCs. She also noted that institutions need to embrace technological innovations that enhance teaching and learning, and she identified pilot projects underway to employ these strategies in some of Middlebury's graduate programs.

Board members also held two pre-meeting sessions. At one, they discussed the process for the upcoming presidential search, including the makeup of the search committee. Trustees expect to announce the members of the committee by late March, along with a timetable for the search. The other session focused on the governance changes approved by the board in December, which will take effect on July 1. At that meeting trustees and members of the administration discussed the new committee structure and the delineation of responsibilities among the five new standing committees and the three boards of overseers.

The board also announced that it had approved the appointment of KPMG as the institution’s new auditor, effective March of 2014.