Southern University on Friday became the last of Louisiana’s four public college systems to approve a 10 percent tuition increase when the fall semester starts.
The action makes it official that more than 40,000 students in the Baton Rouge area will pay more when they start classes.
The tuition hike approved by Southern University Board of Supervisors on Friday came after little discussion.
In early May, Southern System President Ronald Mason said Southern had “no choice” but to approve an increase.
Full-time undergraduate students will pay $5,806 in tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 academic year, according to calculations released by the Southern Board of Supervisors on Friday. That’s $628 more than what was charged in the 2011-2012 academic year. Tuition increased $518 and the student self-assessed fee went up $110, the Board documents stated.
Nonresident Southern students will pay $13,138 for the next academic year, or $1,412 more than last academic year, according to the board.
Baton Rouge Community college will charge $1,545 for an in-state student taking 12 credit hours in the fall semester of 2012, according to Steve Mitchell, BRCC spokesman.
The exact amount that will be charged starting in the fall at Capital Area Technical College, LSU, University of Louisiana Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana University could not be verified Friday.
Southern University, like the LSU, University of Louisiana and Louisiana Community and Technical College systems, were able to pursue the 10 percent tuition hike under the parameters of the 2010 LA GRAD Act.
The law measures several dozen benchmarks based mostly on student success, including improved graduation and retention rates.
Schools that meet their GRAD Act targets are allowed to increase tuition by up to 10 percent each year. Additionally, the state’s performance-based formula ties 15 percent of overall state funding for each college on meeting the GRAD Act goals.
Last year, all of Louisiana’s public colleges reached their goals. This year, only LSU at Eunice and Southern University at Shreveport failed to hit their targets.
Mason said Southern’s Shreveport campus, known as SUSLA, is appealing its GRAD Act designation due to what he called a technical error in the calculation. The Louisiana Board of Regents, the state’s top higher education board, is expected to review the appeal before fall classes start. Rising tuition has become the new norm in Louisiana as the burden of funding the bulk of higher education has shifted from the state onto students over the past several years.
According to a compilation by the Board of Regents, the state’s top higher education board, students were responsible for paying a third of the state’s higher education costs through tuition and fees during the 2006-07 fiscal year.
Following years of back-to-back state budget cuts, tuition and fees are anticipated to make up about 62 percent of those costs starting in the fall, the Regents calculation says.
The state has cut roughly $360 million from colleges since 2008 including $25 million schools had to scramble to cut this month to keep the state’s budget balanced after state tax collections came in lower than expected.
In the fiscal year that starts on Sunday, college systems will have to absorb another $66 million in cuts from the state, according to the most recent budget put together by the Legislature.
And while individual campuses don’t have to finalize their plans to cope with the budget cuts until September, State Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell has said the consolidation of programs, larger classes, the canceling of majors and higher costs to students make up the new reality in the state’s higher education system.
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