Although Northern Kentucky University is considered a rather affordable school, this is not always the case. Most Kentucky colleges and universities cost less and allow students to take more classes before charging additional tuition.
Of the Kentucky four-year public schools, according to Carnegie Classifications, NKU has the second highest full-time resident tuition.
Only Western Kentucky University charges its full-time, in-state students more; while the tuition rates at Eastern Kentucky University, Murray State University and Morehead State University are lower.
“Northern and Western get less state funds per student [than Eastern, Murray or Morehead], so that’s why our tuition is higher,” said Ken Kline, budget director at NKU.
Additionally, other Kentucky schools permit students to take a minimum of 18 credit hours before charging more for additional credit hours. NKU charges extra after 16 credit hours. Students taking 18 credit hours at NKU pay more than students taking the same course load at WKU.
Andrew Kappes, junior electronic media and broadcasting major, said he had considered attending WKU, but NKU’s lower tuition cost swayed him. He was unaware that he would be paying $378 more to take 18 credit hours at NKU than he would have paid to take the same course load at WKU.
Kappes faces a similar problem this semester, as he is taking a heavy course load, spending approximately $756 more over the course of the spring and fall semesters than he would have at WKU.
“It’s garbage, because the affordability of the school is basically the entire advertising campaign,” Kappes said.
The main reason for this cost is to discourage students from registering for classes they do not intend to take, then drop them, according to Kline. It also encourages students to stick to manageable schedules, but was never a revenue decision, he said.
NKU is the only Kentucky four-year public school with a policy that, according to Kline, is meant to dissuade students from enrolling in additional classes and penalize those who do.
NKU students challenge the necessity of this policy, wondering why other Kentucky schools haven’t applied similar approaches to prevent the practice of signing up for more classes than one plans to take.
The cost of taking 18 credit hours at NKU is $54 less than taking the same course load at the University of Louisville, which is given permission by the state to charge more because of it is a research institution.
“It costs the bursar the same amount to cover a student who takes 12 credit hours as it does one who takes more,” Kline said.
Students said it’s unfair for NKU to charge for the extra credit hours when no other four-year public school in Kentucky does, considering that a student has covered his or her costs after paying for 12 credit hours.
And most anticipate that tuition at NKU, as well as other schools, will only continue to climb.