The yearly cost of studying and living at Notre Dame as an undergraduate surpassed the $30,000 mark this year for the first time. Ironically, the price threshold was crossed as a consequence of the smallest increase in tuition and room and board in more than 40 years. For 2001-02, undergraduate tuition is $24,320 and room and board costs $6,210. Last year's total was $29,100, a difference of $1,430 or 4.9 percent. Percentage-wise, the increase is the narrowest since 1959-60, when prices were unchanged from the previous year. The increases were necessary to offset normal upward budgetary pressures like employee pay raises and inflation in the prices of materials and services, but also to help pay for investments in new technology and equipment, library resources, building renovations, new programs and additional employees. Such expenditures are being made to expand and improve the University's offerings and to keep Notre Dame competitive with the world's other top institutions of higher learning. In a letter last spring to parents of returning students, President Malloy noted that Notre Dame's total costs are lower than all but two of the 18 schools listed ahead of it in the widely cited _U.S. News & World Report_ ranking. This year Notre Dame is 77th in total costs among 125 private institutions of higher learning in the United States. Notre Dame also continues to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students through scholarships and loans.