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Jun 1, 2011

Administration Answers Dorm Students: We need Money, We had no Choice but to Increase Student Charges

After dorm students' meeting on Monday and writing a petition to the administration, AUIS administration answered dorm students with 'no'. 

The respond which came only after one day of the meeting counts reasons for why AUIS raised the prices. 

In its answer, AUIS administration says that the university is in need for more income and the only way possible to do that is to charge students more. 

The administration also says that the fees will even get higher in the next few years. 

The dorm students at AUIS had proposed a solution for the problem before. They had given AUIS three days to answer them. The students are now thinking of the next step to stop the decision, says one of the dorm students. 

Here is AUIS administration's answer to the dorm students:

Dear Dorm Students,
We thank you for the petition that we received from you regarding the dorm fees. Let us assure you that our decision to set the prices higher than before does not come easy to us. Our reasons for increasing the dorm fee rates are as follows:
1.      AUIS is a private rather than state-sponsored university. Therefore, we do not receive funds from the Ministry of Higher Education for operating our university. This means that we must ask students to pay tuition and fees to offset our costs. This year only 8.6% of all our costs are off-set by payments from students. All other expenses are covered through sponsorships, donations, and grants. We as the senior leaders of this university are responsible for keeping income and expenses in balance, and we know that next year and the years after we cannot count on the same generosity of donors. Of course, as the university grows with more students, we will receive some more income. But this additional income will still fall short of what is needed. Therefore, we have no choice but to increase student charges. For next year we will hold the tuition rates for undergraduate students at the same level without an increase, but the year after we expect that tuition will have to increase as well.
It may interest you to know that the real cost of a student’s education at AUIS this year is more than $30,000. Even the full tuition rate of $10,000 does not come close to our actual costs. Our costs are high primarily because we bring the best possible faculty and instructors from abroad to provide our students with a high quality education, just as you would if you would attend a private university in the USA. However, in the USA the cost of tuition would be 3 to 4 times as high as here in Iraq, and that is only because of the economic circumstances of the people of Iraq. Over time, economic development will certainly improve and the university will be able to operate with higher tuition and fees and be able to depend to a lesser extent on donations. In the short term we will have to rely on donations but we realistically know that there are limits to what we can expect. Thus, we have to increase the amounts received from students for tuition and fees step by step.

2.      The new dorm prices were carefully researched. The private universities in Erbil (Hawler and Jihan) each charge $100 and $150 per month per student. Off-campus housing in Erbil for a student costs about $175/ month. In Sulaimani there are no other private universities but off-campus housing – according to our research – would cost between $150 and $190 per month per student including electricity and services. Because of our dorm students’ financial situation we deliberately set the lowest dorm rate well below the cost of other housing. To be sure, with the dorm prices as set now  ($80 - $105 - $180)  the university will not even be able to recuperate the annual expense for electricity, internet, and other services. The rates are as low as we are willing and able to go.

3.      You do have options. One of these is to individually or as a small group rent your own housing, and you may be able to do that at lower cost. We also suggest that - if you have a financial sponsor - you ask that the dorm fees be covered in future. As we said in the dorm fee announcement, you may also request our financial aid office to give further consideration to your individual situation as part of the financial aid package that many of you receive. 
Last but not least, it is not yet certain that the new dorm will be ready in the fall semester due to construction delays. If it is not ready we will arrange alternate dorm accommodations at the old rates.  That would give some extra time to arrange for the payment of the new dorm fees beginning spring semester.
Dr. A. Moulakis
J. Brongers

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