The cost of an education at Midwestern State University just got more expensive.
Tuition and fee increases were on the minds of MSU Regents this morning. Board members met to discuss the 2011-2012 budget, including recommendations on how to properly increase tuition fees. Among the proposed increases, members discussed raising the University Designated Tuition by $4.35 per semester credit hour from the current $96.55 to $100.90 per semester credit hour limit.
Universities and colleges across Texas are bracing for cuts in state funding. Some school administrators have told the State Legislature they would be forced to raise tuition and fees anywhere between 4% and 8%.
That possibility has some students at MSU upset. MSU Junior Harlan Smith said, "They've already raised the tuition for Midwestern and now they're trying to raise it again. I think its kind of ridiculous."
Senior Wesley Nakwaasah told Newschannel 6, "Midwestern at one point in time was ranked as one of the best universities "cost-wise", and if they increase tuition which they have the last few years it's going to end up hurting that."
Other students worry about what it would do to their budgets. "It makes me feel a little upset," said Theater Major Lauren Payne. Payne is entering her Senior year and already struggles."Sometimes I'm not always prepared for things I need for class because I can't afford it," she said.
The University intends to tight it's belt, so to say. Regents announced a $4M cut to the budget. Still, students like Payne worry how they will be able to do the same. "It already is a strain on my pocket so I don't know what I'm going to have to cut out for next year… It sucks," exclaimed Payne.
Other students worry about what the hike will do to the University in general. Sharraile Barnett is a Senior Mass Communications Major. She won't have to deal with the hike for undergrad work, but says it would keep her looking for a grad school. Her thoughts are with the underclass. "Some students were kind of hinging upon if tuition was going to be raised if they were going to stay for the next semester or the next year," she said.
Barnett does not like the hikes. "I think that was a really poor decision on their part," she said. She says she has seen a trend in tuition hikes. "Throughout the last 3 years I've been seeing a slow increase and I think last year was the highest increase I've seen. It was quite substantial. It was almost a thousand a semester which is a lot of money to me," said Barnett.
Regents also discussed raising a cost estimate from $2.8 million to $3.7 million to remain eligible for the State Energy Conservation Office LoneSTAR program. It allows MSU to receive loan money through the program then pay it back through energy savings.
Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6
Here is the press release from Midwestern State:
MSU Board Increases Tuition and Fees to Help Offset $6.4 Million Shortfall from the State
During a specially-called meeting Monday, March 28, the Midwestern State University Board of Regents unanimously approved a 4-percent increase in tuition and fees beginning with the Fall 2011 semester. The increase allows the university to maintain its commitment to its students that, apart from student-approved fees, it will not increase tuition and fees more than 5 percent in any academic year.
"One of MSU's ongoing goals has been to set the total cost to students at or below the state average. It is in the university's best interest and that of our students to offer a quality education at a reasonable cost. The 4-percent increase will allow us to do this," stated MSU President Jesse W. Rogers.
The university anticipates a $6.4 million dollar shortfall in state funding for the upcoming biennium. In addition to the 4-percent increase, the university will also make reductions in its operating budget. Regents reviewed a draft proposal that will eliminate an estimated $4 million from the budget over the next two years. Regents will approve a final budget for the 2011-2012 school year during their August board meeting.
Below is a breakdown of tuition and fees for the Fall 2011 semester: