Administration increases tuition 3.6% to $34,700 for 2015-2016 school year

Eugenia Ko

Tuition for the 2015-2016 school year will rise to $34,700 from $33,500, an increase of 3.6%, Chief Financial Officer Rob Levin said.

The 2015-2016 re-enrollment contract became available on on Feb. 9.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the tuition increase rate has been about 4 percent, with last year’s increase at 3.7 percent.

Though other schools are only beginning to publish their tuitions for the 2015-2016 school year, the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees expects that tuition and rate of increase will fall below the median for other top independent schools in the area, as they have in previous years.

The 3.6 percent increase is attributed to the fact that “top-quality schools are inherently people-intensive enterprises, committed to small classes and individualized student support, and thus not easily amenable to productivity or efficiency savings,” Levin said.

Levin said every major cost and revenue category is examined in the process of determining the budget. The greatest portion of the tuition every year is faculty and staff compensation in relation to yearly inflation rates and changing local housing costs.

The financial aid program is also a significant portion of the tuition, as Harvard-Westlake’s program is the largest among California independent schools.

“[The program] is mission critical, dedicated not only to meeting the needs of existing Harvard-Westlake families but also to enhancing the school’s ability to offer the experience to a broad and strong group of potential students, thus enabling both our pursuit of excellence and of purpose beyond ourselves,” Levin said.

However, Levin said the board and administration aim “to keep tuition as low as prudently possible while exercising the prudence necessary to set it no lower.”