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Board OKs 5-percent tuition bump

The Board of Trustees approved a 4.8-percent increase in the total cost of attending Duke at its meeting Friday, among a raft of other agenda items.

The increase-to be coupled with a 28-percent increase in endowment spending on financial aid for both undergraduate and graduate students-includes a 5-percent jump in undergraduate tuition and will take effect for the 2008-2009 academic year.

"High-quality education is a costly thing," President Richard Brodhead said at a press conference Friday. "Our tuition increase recognizes only a portion of the cost. There are two significant figures here: one is a percent increase for tuition, and one is a percent increase for financial aid."

The changes bring the annual cost of a Duke undergraduate education to $47,985 with $36,065 of that amount going to tuition. Tuition for the current academic year was $34,365.

The University previously announced a 17-percent increase in financial aid, to $86 million, after the Trustees' December meeting. The Board approved sweeping increases in financial aid at that meeting.

Since the announcement, elite universities across the country have unleashed a barrage of financial aid upgrades, many of them going farther than Duke's.

"There are [institutions] who have more resources and have the ability to do more, and that will not change in my lifetime," said Board Chair Robert Steel, Trinity '73. "I think the thing we should be proud of is that the administration put us on the front foot of this issue."

Brodhead said the University would continue monitoring its financial situation and the needs of students when considering future adjustments.

Also Friday, the Trustees barred the Duke Management Company from investing its funds-comprising $8.2 billion in University endowment and other assets-in companies that engage in business with the government of Sudan.

The move puts Duke in step with other U.S. universities who have made similar decisions. Because the University does not currently have any investments that would be prohibited, the ban will have no immediate impact.

"We say of our endowment that our highest priority is to have the highest earnings we can [in order to support our academic mission]," Brodhead said. "Nevertheless, there are cases where ethical and social issues are raised where one wants to deal with those things."

The resolution marks the first action resulting from a recommendation of the President's Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility, established in 2004.

Steel and Brodhead also commented briefly on recent lawsuits alleging wrongdoing on the part of the University in the Duke lacrosse case.

When asked if he could unequivocally state that no revelations about conspiracy would emerge from the suit, Steel declined to comment directly.

"I think that this is the way in which disputes are resolved and organized," he said. "We've said at the time of the announcement that we believe the legal strategy to attack Duke is misdirected and without merit. I think's that's really where we are. Period."

After the Friday morning meeting, the Trustees held a retreat at the Washington Duke Inn Friday afternoon and Saturday.

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