Auburn University considers tuition hike

June 17, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - Auburn University may increase student tuition this fall to make up for a large budget gap. The Board of Trustees is meeting Thursday through Friday to address the nearly $40 million dollar budget gap.

Increasing costs and fewer state appropriations are prompting university administrators to consider another tuition hike, one year after it was raised by 12%. "We never like to raise tuition, but that's driven by state appropriations, which historically in higher education, they're coming down, and of course costs are going up," said Mike Clardy, an Auburn University spokesperson.

The Board of Trustees are currently facing a $39 million dollar budget gap. "Rather than make the students shoulder that entire burden, we're going to recommend about a 5.7% increase in tuition, and that will cover about a quarter of that gap. The rest of the cuts would come from administrative costs," Clardy said .

Tuition at Auburn University has increased by more than $1500 hundred dollars over the past five years.

Increases from 2004-2009

2004-05   8.6%

2005-06   4.1%

2006-07   4.1 %

2007-08   6.1%

2008-09   11.4%

2009-10   12.1 %

The Student Government President says he believes students understand the reasoning for such increases. "The only way to get tuition from rising at the university is to start cutting programs and to start cutting things that as students we really need to further our education and that we need to get jobs. And the only way to cover that is by some sort of tuition increase," said Jacob Watkins, President, Student Government Association.

Under the current proposed increase, general tuition and fees would be increased by $186 per semester for in-state students.  Additionally, student activity fees would be increased by $50 per semester due to a recent referendum passed by students.

"It's difficult but these are the facts and its going to cost, and everything is going up," Sierra Atkinson, a student said. Atkinson says she understands the need for a tuition increase, but she adds she would probably have to get a second part-time job to pay for the added costs.

"It's just probably going to be a minimum wage and that's not going to be enough to cover extra expenses that you just have to live off of," she said.

The Auburn University Board of Trustees will be discussing the possible tuition hike over the next two days. They're expected to decide whether they'll increase tuition by 5.7 percent on Friday.