As part of a com­pre­hen­sive pre­sen­ta­tion on the next fiscal year’s budget, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity admin­is­tra­tors announced that tuition, fees and on-​​campus housing costs will increase by 3.9 per­cent next year.

The university’s budget was out­lined on Wednesday at the Fac­ulty Senate meeting and later for stu­dent gov­ern­ment leaders. Finan­cial aid will also rise by $11.3 next year—to almost $200 mil­lion annually—resulting in a net tuition increase of 2.5 percent.

We want to con­tinue to main­tain the momentum that North­eastern has devel­oped over the last couple of years,” said Provost Stephen Director at the Fac­ulty Senate meeting. “That is what ulti­mately drives our budget decisions.”

Illus­trating how costs relate directly to the university’s aca­d­emic mis­sion, Director cited as an example the university’s ongoing push to main­tain small class sizes, which is ben­e­fi­cial to stu­dent learning and attrac­tive to cur­rent and prospec­tive fac­ulty. Other key bud­getary fac­tors dis­cussed on Wednesday include con­trol­ling oper­ating costs, adding tenure-​​line fac­ulty, investing in crit­ical infra­struc­ture needs, expanding tech­nology in the class­room, keeping the library open 24/​7, and holding con­stant the size of the freshman class enrollment

Jack McCarthy, Senior Vice Pres­i­dent for Admin­is­tra­tion and Finance, pro­vided pie charts that out­line the university’s pri­mary expen­di­tures. As a labor-​​intensive enter­prise, McCarthy noted that approx­i­mately half of the university’s oper­ating budget is com­prised of fac­ulty and staff com­pen­sa­tion and benefits.

The FY11 budget includes a salary increase pool of 3 per­cent for fac­ulty and 2.5 per­cent for staff. Some fac­ulty mem­bers com­mented that this was good news given the cur­rent eco­nomic climate.

McCarthy also dis­cussed the university’s suc­cessful efforts to refi­nance a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of its existing debt, a move he said would “bring greater sta­bility to our overall finan­cial posi­tion.” As a result, Moody’s recently upgraded the university’s credit rating to “A2 with a stable out­look,” com­pared to a neg­a­tive out­look last year.

The university’s annual oper­ating budget for fiscal 2011 will be approx­i­mately $940 mil­lion including finan­cial aid.