Another year, another possible tuition increase. The good news, though, is the increase is the lowest it has been in years and years and years.
That is how NKU President James Votruba described the current budget situation at the Student Government Association meeting Feb. 23. He added that his proposal was based off of what he thinks the Council on Postsecondary Education will propose at its next meeting March 6.
Votruba briefed SGA on the possibility of a four percent increase in fall 2009 that would require students to pay $12,792 annually, increasing the current rate four percent ‘This is very much a people’s university, a high quality university and I would like to keep it that way,’ Votruba said.
During his presentation, Votruba noted that although tuition is increasing, NKU has one of the lowest annual tuition rates compared to other universities costing NKU students $11,952. Western Kentucky University currently charges its students $18,670 per year. This four percent increase will affect NKU graduate students who are residents, non-residents, metro, and online rates for all programs except Business graduates who will see a 10%-15% increase.
SGA President Gabe Cronon describes the tuition increase as a double-edged sword. ‘(NKU) is just historically underfunded ‘hellip; A four percent cut for another university is not nearly as difficult for them as it is for us,’ he said.
During the discussion, the topic turned towards international students and how most of them receive education visas, which require them to be full-time students. Some of the senators brought up a concern that a tuition increase would put international students’ visas at risk. If they are unable to make the payments, their visas will be rebuked resulting in a possibility of having to leave the United States.
NKU wants to expand its campus to international students, so NKU is doing little things to help.
Cronon clarified to the senate that they represent
15,000 students and ‘it’s the responsibility of the senate to represent all NKU students.’ ‘International students are an important part of (NKU’s) population and they add diversity but SGA has to take stock in the other 15,000 students,’ Cronon said. According to Votruba, if students work on campus, they get more acquainted with the university.
International students are unable to work off campus, so they must work on campus, however there isn’t a great demand for employees on campus. Opportunities for student employment on campus are being expanded not only to international students, but all NKU students.
‘We’re going to do everything we can to protect jobs,’ Votruba said. He added that the university cut five administrative programs and 30 positions last year, though that doesn’t mean that 30 people lost their jobs since some of those positions were vacant.
According to Votruba, there will be no changes to full and partial scholarships along with no changes to financial aid. The scholarships and financial aid budgets are being increased to match tuition increases.
‘We are not going to leave students high and dry for scholarships,’ Votruba said. As the many changes take place to make improvements at a growing university, Votruba is focusing on NKU’s students and what’s on their minds.
‘These are challenging times,’ Votruba said. ‘At the end of the day, we’re (administrators) here for all of you.’