ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - Tuition is going up! The Athens State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved a tuition increase, but Athens State remains the best educational bargain in the state. Still, the average student at Athens State is a middle aged woman with children, meaning any tuition increase hits home.
One of the largest expenses at any facility like this is labor, and the largest increase in the cost of personnel here is the result of the Affordable Care Act. Health insurance costs at Athens State have climbed by $198,000. On top of that, they've seen a declining enrollment.
Students, get ready to hash out some cash. The Board of Trustees approved tuition increases for both under-graduate and graduate students at Athens State. Graduate students will have to pay $325 per quarter hour. Under-graduate rates will climb between 6% and 9%, based on how much additional money is actually needed.
The President of Athens State, Dr. Robert K. Glenn, explained to the board, "We still have work to do to determine the exact amount and the board can empower the executive committee to review our work and approve the final result."
The trustees approved the recommendation allowing the Executive Committee to okay the final tuition increase amount at a later date, and the board will review the measure at its next quarterly meeting.
Glenn is quick to point out that Athens State remains the least expensive college in the state, even if the tuition increase reaches the full 9 percent. Still, in the midst of a declining enrollment and with ever increasing costs, he says these decisions must be weighed carefully.
"We understand that every increase, no matter how small, has a very definite impact on our students, much more so than other segments of the student population. We take it very seriously but we know we're going to have to do something because we've had a declining enrollment," Glenn explained.
Enrollment has declined for the past two years, most notably in the School of Education. While some trustees see this as a cycle that will come back around, others say they're watching for a trend to develop. Interesting to note, the largest increase in student population has been among Hispanic students.