Tuition Increase Likely for Fall Term
By Benjamin Cunningham
The Chanticleer Editor in Chief
JACKSONVILLE -- April 11, 2002 -- JSU students can expect tuition to go up for the fall semester, according to Don Thacker, JSU's vice president for administrative and business affairs.
Thacker said the university's budget committee has made three recommendations to JSU President Bill Meehan for a tuition increase. Meehan will make a final recommendation to the board of trustees at that group's meeting on Monday.
"There will be a recommendation for an increase; we just don't know how much yet," Thacker said. "We're talking somewhere between $100 and $200." The increase is necessary, he said, to deal with rising operating costs and to pay for a proposed bond issue that would fund the renovation of campus facilities.
"We're going to have to go back to the bond market and borrow some money to renovate Ayers Hall ... and make some other improvements around campus," Thacker said.
The board is also expected to vote on issuing the bond at the Monday meeting. Thacker said the improvements also included some athletic facilities, including the construction of a soccer field, which he said JSU has agreed with the NCAA to build in order to remain in compliance with Title IX.
He singled out energy costs as a source of the need for money to cover the University's operating costs. "Gas prices are going up and we have about 50 or 60 vehicles that burn gas every day. Utility costs are going up, and so we are looking at that."
Thacker said he's still waiting to see how much money the state legislature will allot to JSU in its budget, which is still being drafted. He said that even if the legislature increases JSU's allotment, the money would probably be needed to provide raises for faculty.
"These faculty are awfully good and they can go anywhere in the country," he said. "The thing that keeps them here is the environment and the students and we try to pay them just enough to keep them. If you compare their salary to other places, most all of your good faculty can go somewhere else and make more money."
JSU's last tuition increase came last summer, when the cost of a full-time semester for Alabama residents was raised by $150, from $1,320 to $1,470. Most of Alabama's other colleges and universities raised their tuition last year as well.
Meehan and the board of trustees have repeatedly stated their intent to keep JSU's tuition below the median for institutions of higher education in the state. "We are right now about $225 to $250 below that median," Thacker said. "We will be at or below that median (next year)."
The trustees will meet Monday at 10 a.m. in Gadsden at the Joe Ford Economic Development Center on the campus of Gadsden State Community College. Meetings of the board of trustees are open to the public.
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