Tuition Fee Increase
First, was to help management and the board decide how should we manage tuition fee. When we look at the long-term financial need of the university, we only recognise theres a gap and therefore, tuition fee is one of the sources to fill the gap. So we had to look at it, how do we manage tuition fee over time as a resource to provide our financial need? So, with the long-term projection, projecting the gap, the board was engaged in terms of looking at what kind of increase should we be looking at over time to bring in the resources? So, that was one, the long-term outlook. Then, of course, each year when we look at the tuition fee for each year, what should the real increase be, is the other discussion. But, of course, that discussion is not just let's increase it ten percent as you like, because there is market and public consideration. So there are other information that you need to understand, while from a financial perspective you know that you need to go at a certain rate, but there is market reality that you must consider. So all these have to come into play to decide how do we want to manage tuition fee. The other thing that we had to do was this how do you make tuition fee increase as painless as possible? Ten years ago, the board was engaged in a discussion and I presented a paper, how should we package our tuition fee? Because in the past, tuition fee [increase] is a yearly thing. Your fee is only valid for this year. A student, sign up for U [university] for four years and they [only] know this year I pay so much, they have no clue what, in subsequent years, they are going to be paying. So there will be anxiety, both on their part and the parent's part. And that's when we looked at what we call a fixed-fee model? Meaning when you come to SMU, you know precisely how much you have to pay from the day you join to the day you graduate. So that removes uncertainty and that helps them to plan what kind of commitment to make. So that's how we started the fixed-fee model a few years back. And each year when we say the fee is so much, the students know that they will only pay this fee for the whole duration they are here. And that actually was very much welcomed by parents and students. And to a large extent, because we did it, the other two, the other institutions are all doing the same thing. And I think it's fair. I mean, if I'm buying something, I want to know the actual price and not a price that is subject to change, so it's a fair model.