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College tuitions increasing

July 28, 2002|by CAILIN MCGOUGH

cailinm@herald-mail.com

Tight state budgets have made for steep tuition increases this fall at several public institutions in the area.

At Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa., students will face a 9 percent increase in tuition when they return this fall, raising room and board costs from $2,321 to $2,432. The cost per credit hour will increase from $167 to $182 for resident students and from $418 to $456 for nonresidents.

The Pennsylvania State System's Board of Governors approved the tuition rate increase for its 14 universities, including Shippensburg, after the system lost $14.2 million in state funding this year.

This is only the third time tuition in the system has increased by more than 5 percent since 1993.

The tuition increase came after a 3 percent reduction in state appropriation to the university, Shippensburg spokesman Pete Gigliotti said.

"The board of governors made a difficult but wise decision to increase tuition, which will help close some of the 3 percent shortfall," Gigliotti said.

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The school will not make some purchases and will leave some vacancies unfilled due to the shortfall. Shippensburg will continue to provide classes and support services students require, Gigliotti said.

A $100 technology fee approved by the board of governors will provide a consistent revenue stream for technology upgrades, Gigliotti said.

Shepherd College, a public four-year institution in Shepherdstown, W.Va., increased tuition by 9.89 percent for resident students and 10.93 percent for nonresident students this year, spokesperson Valerie Owens said.

The increase raises room and board from $2,228 to $2,369 and the cost per credit hour from $109 to $119 for resident students and from $262 to $291 for nonresident students.

Tuition increases are approved by a local board of governors before they are reviewed by a policy commission in Charleston, Owens said.

Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md., increased tuition by 5.5 percent, raising room and board from $2,597 to $2,689. The cost per credit hour increased from $142 to $150 for resident students and from $252 to $266 for nonresidents.

The University System of Maryland's Board of Regents approved the rate for resident undergraduates at most of the system's institutions in May.

The system has said the increase, which exceeds a previous ceiling of 4 percent, is necessary because of a tight state budget.

"This has been a difficult year financially for the entire state of Maryland, including the system. We've been trying to find ways to compensate for the economic hardships at every level," Frostburg spokesman Ty DeMartino said.

Frostburg will also implement a new $120 technology fee for full-time students that was approved by the board of regents.

Even with technology fee increases, Frostburg has one of the lowest overall fees statewide, DeMartino said.

Tuition at Frostburg's Hagerstown Center also increased by 5.5 percent, DeMartino said. However, Hagerstown students pay less in fees due to a different fee structure.

Hagerstown Community College, which offers a two-year degree program, increased tuition for county residents for the first time in three years, dean of administrative services Anna Barker said. HCC receives a substantial amount of funding from the state.

"The pool of money allocated for community colleges was not as large as we had originally anticipated," Barker said.

A 4 percent tuition increase across the board will help offset the shortfall, Barker said. The increase raises the cost per credit hour from $74 to $77 for in-county students, from $119 to $124 for out-of-county students and from $156 to $163 for out-of-state students.

Tuition increases were generally smaller at private institutions which do not depend on the state for funding.

Tuition at Hood College in Frederick, Md., increased by 3 percent, from $18,795 last year to $19,360 this fall, dean of admissions Sue Hallenbeck said.

The increase raises room and board costs from $6,900 to $7,300 and the cost per credit hour from $540 to $560.

"We really consciously wanted to keep increases as small as we possibly could so it wouldn't be a big burden for current students and incoming students," Hallenback said.

At Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., comprehensive fees increased by 5 percent, college President Lorna Edmundson said, raising room and board costs from $6,306 to $6,790 and the cost per credit hour from $545 to $575.

Keeping costs down is "a discipline we're used to," Edmundson said, citing the school's recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a 2002 "Best Value."

She compared the college to a small business which must be alert and entrepreneurial.

"Everything that's going on in the economy has an immediate impact on us, and that means we have to work harder to keep our costs down and stay affordable," Edmundson said.

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