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Tuition, fees up next for budget

MU BOG
May. 08, 2013 @ 11:24 PM

HUNTINGTON — Marshall University's administration will ask the Board of Governors to approve tuition increases ranging from $140 to $318 per semester when they meet at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the Shawkey Dining Room at the Memorial Student Center.

The dollar amounts were released late Wednesday as part of the agenda packet, following a meeting of a newly-formed budget work group. The increases were expected, as the university deals with a $5.11 million decrease in state appropriations for the upcoming fiscal year. Increasing tuition and fees is one of the few ways to make up for lost revenue, though officials have said students would not bear the entire loss. Doing so would result in an average increase of $730 per year per student.

Instead, under the proposal, undergraduate resident students would pay an additional $140 per semester, an overall increase of 4.82 percent. That would bring the total cost of tuition to $2,355. Graduate residents would pay an additional $268 per semester, an increase of 4.89 percent.

Non-resident students would be given a break, with increases of 3.7 percent for undergraduate students and 3.52 percent for graduate students. Metro students, those who live in surrounding counties in Kentucky and Ohio, would be hit the hardest under the proposal. Undergraduates would see their tuition go from $3,855 to $4,160 per semester, an increase of 6 percent. Graduate students would see increases of 5.8 percent, a $318 increase.

The Recreation Center fee also would increase by $3 to $199 per semester.

The School of Medicine would be exempt from increases, while the students in the new pharmacy program would pay an additional $630 for two new fees. And, first-year pharmacy students would see a new fee of $270 per semester.

The university can increase tuition up to 5 percent for resident students without seeking approval from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. That's what occurred last year, with increases of 4.99 percent and 4.88 percent for undergraduate and graduate students from West Virginia, 3.33 percent and 3.15 percent for undergraduate and graduate non-resident students, and 5.89 percent and 5.73 percent for undergraduate and graduate students who live in the metro counties of Kentucky and Ohio. That resulted in increases ranging from $141 to $298 per semester.

Students reacted unfavorably last year, leading to a crowded board meeting, with several holding signs of protest. But Ray Harrell, who has served on the board for the past two years as student body president, said then and recently reiterated that the fight belongs in Charleston, where lawmakers are cutting state support and shifting costs to students and their families.

Knowing increases were likely, the student senate adopted a resolution last week asking university officials to keep affordability in mind. But there are students still upset about the administration's actions on April 9, when departmental accounts were swept into a central holding account without prior notification. The money was later returned after the board tabled a vote on new budget parameters, which were behind the sweep.

That didn't stop the faculty from giving President Stephen Kopp a vote of no confidence last week, although the Board of Governors reiterated its support for Kopp.

The Board of Governors will vote on a full budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year during the June 11 meeting.

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