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Syracuse investing $100 million in students... oh, and raising tuition

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Sort of athletics.

Hollywood Bridging The Military Civilian Divide Hosted By Syracuse University Photo by Marc Flores/Getty Images for Syracuse University

Yes, this is largely a Syracuse Orange sports blog, but anyone that’s spent time here over the years knows it touches on other subjects with varying degrees of relation to that topic. One that’s actually pretty close to what we’re supposed to be doing here: Syracuse University and its general affairs.

On Wednesday, the school announced it would be investing $100 million in academic programs and the student experience over the next five years. Some of the things covered there:

  • Health
  • Study abroad
  • Greater alumni networking structure
  • Growing faculty
  • Fundraising for need-based scholarships and financial aid
  • Reducing graduating student debt

The school even announced administrative cost cutting of over $30 million.

So of course, it gets a little surprising to see this selection:

“Rebasing tuition: Establishing a new tuition base for the 2018-2019 academic year. For first-year and transfer students entering in the fall of 2018, there will be a $3,300 Invest Syracuse premium added to the tuition base, in addition to the 3.9 percent tuition increase (pending board approval). No current students or first-year and transfer students entering in the fall of 2017 will be impacted by the premium.”


Hard to reduce debt when you’re raising (Syracuse’s already very high) tuition, no? And as someone still paying off their own loans for attending SU, the thought of it costing even more than it did from 2006-10 (which it already did today) seems insane.

Now, if Syracuse’s proposed enhancements to undergraduate life — a common knock on the school since former Chancellor Nancy Cantor took over -- go through, I suppose the increase could be worth it. But then what’s the $100 million investment for, if only a shield for the PR around a tuition hike?

Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Linking this back to athletics, one thing we’re seeing here is a bit of a move toward our private school peers like Duke and Stanford, who prioritize spending on students vs. sports (while still putting money toward sports just the same).

So without getting into hypotheticals, seeing Syracuse make this investment while the Carrier Dome renovations remains largely unresolved does seem like prioritizing student life. They should be doing so, mind you. They’re an institution of higher learning more than an athletic program. The one drawback for SU vs. Duke or Stanford is the lesser alumni base and endowments. That’s what makes spending on student life look like it’s an either/or situation with athletics, instead of both.

Once we hear more on the Dome, the above “issue” could probably go away completely, though. Without speculating any further, we’ll see what happens next.