Tuition will rise almost 10 percent in the fall, putting the cost of a credit hour at $787.
Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, said setting tuition is about creating a balance between cutting costs without shortchanging students.
“We’re always trying to reach the right balance between investing and ensuring our students get the education experience that they need to be prepared in the world and attempting to trim and cut our costs,” Schubert said.
Many factors lead to higher tuition, including an overall increase in medical benefits for employees and utility costs as well as supporting a healthy measure of financial aid for students.
“We’re in an industry that is pretty heavily focused on bodies in the classroom and a lot of heavy capital infrastructure, buildings and facilities – and people tend to be pretty expensive things, in terms of a business model,” Schubert said.
Despite the increase, Schubert said ACU still is priced in the lowest 25 percent of private schools across the country while providing an education in the top 25 percent in quality. And Schubert said the nature of an open market says some level of correlation exists between price and quality.
“That doesn’t mean that it’s easy or cheap, it just means that we want to exercise our commitment to be focused on a quality experience at an appropriate price level,” Schubert said. “I’d like to think that for the price we’re charging, relative to where it’s positioning ACU in the market, our students are getting a great value when we compare the price we’re charging to what the rest of the market is charging and quality that our students are receiving.”
ACU is not unusual in its increase. Most universities are increasing tuition faster than the rate of inflation. In the last ten years, “tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities increased at an average rate of 5.6% per year beyond the rate of general inflation,” according to http://trends.collegeboard.org.
Kevin Campbell, acting chief enrollment officer, said he doesn’t think the increase will affect new student enrollment because his office has made efforts to increase scholarship and financial aid offerings.
Campbell said financial aid covers about 30-32 percent of overall tuition and fees.
Schubert notified students of the increase in an e-mail Thursday night.
Students’ Association president Sam Palomares, senior communications major from Elsa, said he wished administration would better explain the increase to students.
Palomares also said while nobody likes a tuition increase, it could create a bigger pool for resources to help students. However, it potentially puts additional strains on finding more scholarships and other forms of aid, he said.