ASU increases tuition, adds two new fees
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 10:08
ASU budget changes for the 2013-14 school year are now active, raising tuition and two critical system fees within the university. Students can expect to pay an average of five dollars per credit hour in additional fees as well as an approximate tuition increase of 3.31 percent.
Tuition for the 2013-14 school year has increased by 3.24 to 3.84 percent per credit since last year. The percentage increase differs between undergraduate/graduate and resident/non-resident classifications, according to tuition and fee reports from the ASU budget office.
The Academic Excellence Fee also increased, and a Facilities Fee has been introduced.
The Academic Excellence Fee, now four dollars per credit hour instead of two, helps maintain appropriate and competitive faculty and staff salaries. “The better faculty you have, the better educational experience for our students,” said Len Frey, vice chancellor of the finance and administration department.
“(The Academic Excellence Fee) generates additional revenue that includes a two percent raise for non-classified employees, three percent merit increase for faculty, and a two percent increase for classified employees,” Donna McMillin, assistant vice chancellor for budget planning and development, said.
The newly introduced Facilities Fee is three dollars per credit hour and will be dedicated to the upkeep, enhancement and construction of university buildings and equipment.
“The tuition and fee increase will allow us to achieve a very important objective,” Frey said. “We will complete the Humanities and Social Sciences Building.” The building is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015.
“Some of the additional funds that result from the tuition and fee increase will be utilized to cover the debt service,” Frey said. “We should be able to go into the bond market and raise the additional dollars to complete the building uninterrupted.”
The Facilities Fee will also be used to address campus safety issues. According to McMillin, the university will add new officers to the University Police Department and will also construct additional lighting with the help of the Facilities Fee.
Tuition increases can be covered by existing institutional scholarships, McMillin said. If a student is a scholarship recipient, scholarships go up accordingly as tuition rises.
“In general, the tuition increases and the two fees we have initiated will be paid for by all students, regardless of part-time or full time (classification),” McMillin said.
These rising tuition costs are also being supplemented by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education apportionments, making ASU one of only six four-year universities within the state to receive state funding.
Frey said this year ASU is receiving about $1.6 million in additional revenue through the appropriations.
“The state has very limited resources as well,” McMillin said. “We were very fortunate to be one of six schools who ceived funding this year.”
ASU currently ranks fourth in tuition and costs out of the state-sponsored four-year institutions within Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The university’s annual tuition and fee total of $7,510 is only 13 percent higher than the state average of $6,928.
McMillin said the executive council and university planning committees strive to balance the needs of the campus between students, faculty and administration.
According to Frey, the directives of Chancellor Hudson to the executive committee are to identify areas in which the committee can save money and efficiently reallocate dollars, ensuring the campus runs as effectively as possible.
“In every discussion and every decision, there was a focus on how this will enhance the educational experience for our students,” Frey said. “(Chancellor) Hudson always insisted that the reallocation benefit our core mission, which is to educate, enhance and enrich the lives of our students.”