As the meeting to create Chapman’s five-year plan began in 2013, Harold Hewitt, executive vice president and chief operating officer, considered all the possible outcomes – negative and positive – of raising tuition by 4 percent every year.
Students at Chapman are paying more for tuition every year to pay for new programs focused on pharmacy, film and health sciences, Hewitt said. This was accomplished by raising tuition 13 percent from 2013-2016, according to the Chapman University Institutional Research Center.
“If Chapman wants to grow in specific areas, we must rely on tuition for that growth,” Hewitt said.
The board discusses the budget in terms of a five-year plan. The plan the board is following now was approved in 2013 and is titled “Moving to the Health Sciences.”
Chapman is a tuition-dependent university and more than 80 percent of operating funds come from tuition money, said Michael Price, assistant vice president for finance and budget. Chapman needs to increase tuition in order to sustain its reputation by finding new projects, Price said.
“Chapman is not a static university. It is dynamic and it is changing or planned on being changed every year,” Price said.
The new budget in the current five-year plan focused on benefiting health sciences students in the pharmacy program founded in 2014. PharmD, a pharmacy education path, combines undergraduate school with graduate school and enables students to finish their education in five years rather than seven years.
“The board’s main goal is to decrease cost and time of completion (of college). This has been the talk of the whole country, as well as here at Chapman,” Hewitt said.
The plan does not only benefit new students attending Chapman- it also helps students who changed their majors to the new pharmacy program, Hewitt said.
Katie Ma, a freshman who is a part of the PharmD program that is being supported by the extra tuition, said she chose Chapman solely for this program.
“It would have been a lot of extra work applying to graduate schools, so I am glad I just get to stay here and not worry about it,” Ma said. “It is very hands-on. Every lecture has a lab with new equipment.”
This year, Ma said that the school added virtual cadavers instead of using real human bodies to do dissections. These were added to anatomy labs for students to practice dissections and have the ability to go back and make mistakes instead of ruining the whole dissection.
“New technologies like this is why we need funding,” she said.
Before these programs were put in place, people needed an M.D. to enter the medical field, but now, they can receive a physician assistant degree, which requires less school. Price said that this is another example of the pharmacy program benefiting students with the tuition price increases because they do not need to pay for an undergraduate degree and medical school.
Another hands-on program that was emphasized in Chapman’s current five-year plan is the creation of a physician assistant program.
“Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are becoming in high demand due to the rise of health care costs,” Hewitt said.
Elaine Oldford, a junior health sciences major, wants to go to medical school and become a doctor.
Health sciences, as she explained it, is built to cater to any health care career a student wants to go into. Chapman builds the whole major around what classes students will need to get into a medical school or whatever a student hopes for in the future.
Chapman’s health sciences pre-med area of study requires students to take biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry, according to the course catalog. Other requirements for medical school- such as a year of biology, a year of physics, a psychology course and a sociology course- are also a part of the major.
Oldford said that without new lab equipment and qualified professors, it would be hard to pass exams, such as the MCAT, which are required for a career in health care.
Since her freshman year, the equipment in the labs has been changed several times.
“In my chemistry lab, the stuff was old last year and now they really have newer things such as pipettes and glassware,” Oldford said, “It really helps in making the class successful.”
Dodge College of Film and Media Arts has also received ample amounts of funds which led to an increase in its ranking as a film school. The film school is now ranked No.7 by The Hollywood Reporter.
A large part of the budget was moved to pay for professors with experience in their fields, such as screenwriters and television producers. Approximately 60 percent of the budget in 2013’s five-year plan is used to pay the faculty and staff at Chapman, Price said.
The way in which students succeed is by practicing with real-life experience, not by learning with long lectures and instructions, Price said, which is why Dodge College needs to have a space for the students to practice editing in individual editing suites and performing in a grand-scaled theater.
Tuition per semester varies between the universities within the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which Chapman is a part of. Graphic by Jackie Cohen