Davies addresses potential tuition changes

Story by Sabra Jackson, Staff writer

President Bob Davies discussed potential tuition changes based on the cap approved by the Council on Postsecondary Education.

The tuition cap, which was discussed and set by the university, is 3-5 percent and was approved by the CPE in March of this year. The process for the approval of tuition rates and mandatory fees will be April 21 by the Board of Regents. Following will be an approved budget in June at the Board of Regents meeting. Once the Board of Regents approves the rate and budget, it will be sent to the Kentucky CPE, which will approve rates for each university June 16.

The reason for the cap is due to budget reductions within the state as well as within the university.

Davies listed the largest components of the budget, including salaries, infrastructure, technology and services and materials.

He said one-third of the tuition is funded by the state while the other two-thirds is paid for by students or families.

Davies said the tuition without the help of the state would be $13,000 for each student. Due to the state helping, the tuition averages at $8,800.

The current rate for undergraduates admitted prior to summer 2016 is $331 per credit hour. If the 5 percent increase is approved, the rate will change to $347 per credit hour.

The guiding principles the university is following for the cap includes maintaining affordability, quality and position with other universities as well as balancing fiscal pressures and ensuring funding for principles.

Davies said Gov. Matt Bevin recommended to raise the tuition this year as an investment for next year.

“One of the worst things to happen is to have a low tuition increase and then real high ones and then real low ones and then real high ones and then real low ones,” Davies said.

Davies explained that the cap is at 5 percent, but Murray State does not have to go as high as 5 percent. The cap was figured by using the fixed cost, annual increase and other factors to calculate what the institution needs in order to accommodate these needs.

Sarah Burden, freshman from Mt. Washington, Kentucky, asked President Davies if Murray State plans to use the entire 5 percent cap, to which Davies said he strongly supports using the full cap.

Burden said she is a student who pays her tuition on her own. She said it can be stressful, but she agrees with the raised cap because she understands the university’s reasoning.

Many of the expenditures being recognized are one-time amounts. Davies said the increase in expenditures is $1.8 million.

Davies said the number of students is down this year, which also causes a shift in the budget.

Students can expect the cost per credit hour to go up between $16.50 to $47.50 for courses next semester.