Administration announces planned increase in tuition and fees for future students
By Ashley Ford—
The Texas A&M Board of Regents has an offer to make changes in tuition and fees at Tarleton State University. On Oct. 21, Vice President of Student Life Dr. Laura Boren, Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Tye Minckler, and Dr. David Snyder, an animal science professor, informed the public about the proposed changes at an open forum on campus.
“That’s been an ongoing discussion—to be very mindful of what we are asking students to pay to go to school here. We do a lot of comparisons with other institutions, and a lot of thought and preparation goes into this,” Boren said.
All changes in tuition and fees will only affect students that have lower than 30 credit hours by the fall of 2016. When current students first registered at Tarleton, they were under a guaranteed tuition rate, keeping them from having to pay higher rates in the future. In fall of 2016, students with less than 30 credit hours will have the choice between a guaranteed rate and a non-guaranteed rate. The non-guaranteed rate is an increase of 2.2%, and students may have to pay more in the future. The guaranteed rate is an increase of 5.6%, which will remain constant.
“Schools that offer both choices—guaranteed and non-guaranteed rates—in Texas don’t have a lot of students choosing the guaranteed rate, because it’s higher, a couple hundred dollars higher to start with. I think students have a high discount rate, and they’d rather have that money in their hands and take their chances,” said Minckler.
After talk of Tarleton going Division I in the future, Minckler said, “Supporting a D-1 program does require more cost and funds, but it would be through athletic fee, not designate tuition.”
Another adjustment happening is the collapse of online fees. The online fee was used for technology used in classrooms and for online students.
Minckler thinks the online fee creates complexity that is not worthwhile. “We don’t want to charge separately for online classes. We are going to just collapse that [online fee] and average it all across the fees,” said Minckler.
“The intent is for the collapse to create consistency,” said Minkler. “The online fee has not been charged consistently, so some classes have the charge and some classes don’t have the charge. That’s not a good thing. We want consistency. The fee was created to develop an online ability, and all the classes take advantage of that technology (through) Blackboard.”
Snyder also believes the collapse of the fee is beneficial. “The less fees are charged, the less accountants are used, which creates simplicity,” he said.
Snyder said this fee being dropped is justified, because “specialized needs bring specialized fees, and those change over time. Even face-to-face classes use Blackboard. We believe it’s time to spread those fees across the student body.”
Tarleton is requesting the Texas A&M Board of Regents to increase the University Service Fee to $5 per student, per credited hour to help cover new initiatives, strategic objectives and support student success. The intent is to invest in departments that help students perform and get through all four years to graduate.
“It [the University Service Fee] is our most unrestricted fee that supports many things. It’s not targeted at one thing. It is part of our budget pool that gets allocated as such. We can use this fee in more ways we can tuition. It’s sort of more flexible,” said Minckler.
According the explanation of the University Service fee on the Tarleton website, it “funds services such as Advising, Student Services, Technology, Library, Distance Education and Outreach Programs as well as other Administrative Services such as Identification Services and Record Services.”
There are serveral other changes coming to tuition and fees in the coming year:
One dollar per credited hour will be charged for students with less than 30 credit hours to benefit the College of Liberal Fine Arts to help support its students.
There will be an increase in the application fee for undergrad students from $30 to $45. A higher application fee helps cover the cost of increased applications that have almost doubled in the past five years.
The property deposit fee of $10 will be eliminated, because it is hard to return that money if there is no damage four years later. If the student does not care to take the returned deposit, they have the chance to donate it to the Alumni Foundation, which raises about $7,000 a year.
Dr. Dominic Dottavio, Tarleton’s president, said these changes in tuition and fees will be approved in February or May of 2016, when they meet with the Board of Regents.