By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Tuition will increase by $32 per credit hour beginning next semester, said Phil Schubert, vice president of finance for the university.
Each credit hour will cost $487 instead of the $455 students currently pay, which is a normal 7 percent increase.
For a typical student living on campus, Schubert said the average cost of attendance will be about $22,000. The cost includes housing, food and books.
The tuition increase will affect all students currently enrolled in the university and incoming students, Schubert said.
The Board of Trustees decided on the increase this weekend at the annual board meeting. The board also approved an annual budget of just more than $80 million, Schubert said. The budget for this year was about $77 million, Schubert said. The increase is mostly from the raise in tuition.
Schubert said three factors determine the budget. First, the board wants to ensure that it provides competitive salaries for the faculty and staff.
“Second,” Schubert said, “we want to ensure our students receive a state-of-the-art classroom and learning experience.”
This includes new technology and resources for classrooms.
Third, the board wants to provide adequate funding for the general costs of the university, like raises in health insurance costs, for example.
“Thirty cents of every dollar of tuition increase goes back to students in scholarships,” Schubert said. Students receive scholarships based on student need, excellence in academics and talent in other areas, such as athletics and music.
“ACU is in the least expensive 25 percent of private institutions,” Schubert said. “The cost of education is high no matter where you go.”
Schubert said the university’s budget woes of the past few years have significantly improved.
“We don’t expect any financial hurdles in the future,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we can always have what we want.”
The tuition increase and budget decision were the main results from this weekend’s board meeting, said Dr. Gaston Welborn, vice president and general counsel. Other business included the unanimous re-election of Dr. Royce Money as president of the university and the election of five new board members.
The board also appointed two members to committee chairs, which means they will be on the executive board.
Dr. Eddie Sharp, minister of University Church of Christ and adjunct faculty of Bible, missions and ministry, is now the chair of the Committee on Campus Life, and Melinda Worley of Austin is now the chair of the Committee on Academic Affairs.