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DSU raises tuition by $250 per semester

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Delaware State University Riverfront Wilmington Delaware DSU

Delaware State University is the only Historically Black College or University. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

DOVER — The First State’s only Historically Black College or University will increase tuition by $250 for the upcoming school year, accompanied by a room and board adjustment.

Delaware State University’s Chief Financial Officer Anas Ben Addi justified the increased need in a prepared statement, saying, “We provide the best value in Delaware higher education. It comes at a cost we must recognize. Tuition, fees, and public funding currently do not cover the University’s actual costs.”

Despite its recent 3.5% increase in students in 2023, an audit found that “. . .the University’s operating expenses were $104.1 million greater than the operating revenue. . .” for fiscal year 2023.  

“We never plan to fill the gap by simply raising tuition. Still, modest increases are important as we fill the difference with private fundraising, ongoing contracting and research opportunities, and federal and state appropriation as necessary and appropriate,” Ben Addi said in the statement Thursday.

He told the Delaware Business Times last year that DSU had finished with net positives for years and expected the trend to continue, adding, “We don’t have a chronic deficit that we are trying to solve. . . But we are feeling the pressure and we are trying to resolve that pressure. We are also trying to get to a position where we can build the reserves that are needed for future growth. It’s no secret when you look at our endowment that it is not where it should be. We’re not University of Delaware.”

Recent financial documents, however, showcased negative net positions at the end every year starting in 2017. DSU’s Form 8868 details a net loss of $41,205,746 at the end of tax year 2023. In 2022, DSU ended the year with a net loss of $43,087,310 and DSU ended 2021 with a net loss of $81,585,523. Some funds used to benefit University expenses, such as those from the institution’s foundation, and certain types of federal aid are not reported on Form 990.

The University expanded on the need to increase tuition for the upcoming school year by stating in the press release that it costs $27,500 to educate each student successfully, while incoming revenue per student only comes in at $18,500.

To aid in this situation and help the school upgrade its offerings, DSU increased tuition for the first time in six years just last year by $750 per semester, an increase of more than 21%. According to Delaware Business Times’ records, this increase brought in-state tuition to $8,358 per year, or $10,953 with additional fees and student health insurance.

The new increase for the 2024-2025 school year will be $250 per semester, bringing in-state tuition for the year to $9,038. DSU’s website, however, states that in-state tuition for the HBCU now sits at $9,050 for the upcoming school year, or $11,465.00 after required fees. Out-of-state tuition is now listed as $19,014, or $21,429.00 after those fees. The press release stated that a room and board increase will also occur, but did not specify the details.

Even with the increase, DSU will continue its tradition of charging the least for tuition of the four Delaware-based four-year universities including the University of Delaware (UD), Goldey-Beacom University and Wilmington University.

It will also not impact Inspire Scholars which accounted for 79% of incoming freshmen last year or those who attend DSU with full scholarships. Students both in and out of state whose families earn less than $30,000 will continue to have decreased tuition options, as well, according to DSU. In 2023, the University touted 6,451 in-state students, 5,548 out-of-state students and 903 graduate students.

“Delaware State University is the only HBCU in the state and among the best HBCUs in the nation. The most critical aspect of our mission is to extend opportunities to more students to prepare them for a faster, more connected world. It is important to do that at an affordable price and keep the students at the center of everything we do,” DSU President Dr. Tony Allen said in the prepared statement.

UD also announced a tuition increase for the 2024-2025 school year, raising tuition by 4%. Last year, UD raised tuition by 5%, meal plans by 9% and dorm housing by 5%.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly cited DSU’s Form 8868 as Form 990 for the fiscal year 2023 and we have clarified a comment by Ben Addi.

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