Board of Trustees approves tuition increase

Megan Thorne

The Board of Trustees approved a 6 percent tuition increase that will span the next two academic years Thursday during a regular meeting at the New Harmony Inn and Conference Center.

Tuition for in-state, undergraduate students will increase from $6,697 to $6,898 in 2015-2016 – a 3 percent increase of $201, and to $7,105 in the 2016-2017 academic year – a 3 percent increase of $207.

Just more than $108 million was also approved by the board for the university’s 2015-2016 operating budget a nearly 3 percent increase from the $105.8 million budget in 2014-15.

The budget’s priorities include compensation increases, tuition and enrollment driven institutional aid increases, non-discretionary cost increases and the David L. Rice Merit Scholarship program, which will become available to non-resident students.

“We continue to have growth in these institutional aid programs that we continue to fund and that is one of our top priorities in our budget allocation,” said Mary Hupfer, associate vice president for budget and planning.

The operating budget also includes annual software licenses for new software.

There will be a number of software licenses to various software programs, said Hupfer, these programs consist of what we currently have or what we have acquired. Last year, the university acquired several large programs.

The board approved mandatory and miscellaneous fees such as a brand new $125 student assessment fee that will go to fund Tk20, a teacher education program that will assist students in building a progressive portfolio for after graduation.

“It will provide a more qualitative look at the body of a student’s work,” President Linda Bennett said.

A per-semester credit hour fee was also approved for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years.

The fee will increase to $227.92 for Indiana resident undergraduate students and $337.92 for Indiana graduate students for the 2015-2016 year, an increase of 3 percent for Indiana residents and 4 percent for non-residents and graduate students from the previous year. The fee for non-resident undergraduate students will increase to $553.96 and $666.19 for non-resident graduate students, a 4 percent increase for both fees.

The 2016-2017 per-semester credit-hour fee will increase to $234.82 for Indiana resident undergraduate students, $351.53 for Indiana resident graduate students, $576.22 for nonresident undergraduate students and $692.95 for nonresident graduate students.

The meeting also covered current construction projects including the new Welcome Center.

The University plans to begin construction of the 6,000 square foot, $2.5 million Welcome Center in spring 2016. Completion is expected to for spring 2017.

The USI Foundation has secured $2 million for construction and the other $500,000 will come from the university’s Special Projects Reserves.

Steve Bridges, vice president of finance and administration, said that the Welcome Center may be placed where the university’s Free Speech Zone currently resides. They plan on relocating the Free Speech Zone if this occurs.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be September 3 on campus.

Bobby Shipman contributed to this story