New proposal would lower tuition for part-time students

The forum, sponsored by the Student Government Association, addressed the possible change to a per-credit hour rate for tuition. Currently, students pay a flat rate each semester, $2,640 for 12 to 18 credit hours. With a new proposal, students would pay a set price for each credit hour in which they enroll.

SGA Vice President of Administration Michael Harmon said the purpose of the forum was to assist in providing a link between students and administrators.

‘The administration wanted to get some student input on the per credit hour tuition model,’ Harmon said.

Harmon said the change in tuition was necessary because the Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE) asserts that tuition is not affordable for parttime students.

Beth Patrick, MSU vice president for Planning Budgets & Technology, presented four reasons that support the percredit- hour model.

Patrick said benefits of the model include:

‘bull; Generating more revenue – no more free classes.

‘bull; All students would pay for what they consume and pay the same rate.

‘bull; The affordability concern for part-time student would be addressed

‘bull; Provision of a more flexible model foundation with the ability to implement tuition differential as programs dictate.

MSU President Wayne Andrews said the proposed model is ‘fairly complex.’ ‘It’s easy to explain to incoming students and a little bit more of challenge for students already here to understand,’ he said. After explaining there have been nine budget cuts in the last 20 years, Andrews told students at the forum he was aware of their struggles with tuition.

‘I’m aware tuition has been increased significantly . . . but the bottom line is, unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay more money,’ he said.

Harmon said tuition changes are ‘still up in the air.’

‘If somehow that [per-credit- hour] model doesn’t get approved by the CPE then there’s a potential 9 percent increase in tuition,’ Harmon said. ‘Students will find out in June when the Board of Regents meet.’

A chart in Patrick’s presentation demonstrated the differences in tuition between fulltime and part-time students. According to the chart, at the current tuition rate full-time students taking 15 hours per semester could make it through college in four years paying $21,120 for 120 credit hours. A part-time student taking six hours needs 10 years and pays $26,400. On the per-credithour model, all students would pay $24,600 in tuition to graduate with 120 credit hours.

Andrews said he does not think a tuition change will cause problems for the university.

‘The thing students need to know is they will be treated respectfully,’ Andrews said. ‘There will be increases but nothing significant.’

But Harmon is concerned.

‘I’m worried about the incentives full-time students receive,’ he said. ‘It’s going to affect our full-time retention rate.’

Freshman Phillip Jordan does not like the proposed tuition model.

‘It is stupid in a way and it will not help students,’ Jordan said. ‘I know I haven’t decided a major so I won’t make it out in eight semesters. Many students change their majors, too, and it will hurt them as well.’

Though students seem doubtful, President Andrews says he sees the potential for a positive outcome.

‘I think it’s the right model for going forward in the twenty- first century,’ he said. ‘The goal is to make sure we’re fair to our students.’