A 3 percent undergraduate tuition increase approved Monday by Clemson University’s board of trustees will help fund the cost of additional faculty members and enhancements in student programs, technology and facilities — all priorities in the university’s 10-year strategic plan.
According to a release from the university, the increase amounts to $190 per semester for in-state students and $444 for out-of-state students. Combined, the in-state and out-of-state increases represent the smallest overall percentage increase in 15 years.
Clemson President Jim Barker said that even with the increase, Clemson remains a smart investment and a great value, particularly for in-state students who virtually all enter Clemson with a state-funded scholarship.
“Sticker price is a poor indicator of what people actually pay,” Barker said. “For the fall 2012 semester, the average out-of-pocket tuition cost for South Carolina freshmen was 29.9 percent of the sticker price. The total weighted average out-of-pocket tuition cost for all in-state students was just under 50 percent.”
Barker said the additional faculty hires are aimed at maintaining an overall 18-to-one student-to-faculty ratio, “which protects the quality of the classroom experience and helps ensure that students are able to get the courses they need to graduate on time.”
Two college guidebooks continue to rank Clemson high on value and affordability. Kiplinger’s “100 Best Values in Public Colleges” ranks Clemson 34th for in-state students and 39th for out-of-state students — based on a variety of factors that matched quality of education with cost — highest among South Carolina schools on the best values list. SmartMoney Magazine has ranked Clemson 7th on its list of 50 top colleges and universities whose graduates get the best return on their tuition dollars.
“Let me add a word of thanks for the support we’ve received this year from the General Assembly and Governor Haley, which is a key reason we were able to keep the tuition increase so low,” Barker said.
Clemson will receive $3 million in new state funds for faculty and operations at the Restoration Institute in North Charleston, $1 million in non-recurring funds for student internships and $2.7 million in non-recurring funds for deferred maintenance. Also approved was $1.5 million in recurring funds and $3 million in one-time funds to support advanced plant technology research, precision agriculture research and veterinary diagnostic services.
Other investments planned for next year will be funded through internal reallocations. Graduate tuition will increase 4 percent, but officials noted that the administration also has approved an increase in the health subsidy provided to students on graduate assistantships.
Interim Vice Provost and Graduate Dean Karen Burg credited graduate student leaders with gaining support for the health subsidy increase. “We applaud our graduate student government leaders for helping lead this initiative,” she said. “It is crucial to sustain an environment to attract and retain the highest caliber graduate students.”
The board also approved an average 3 percent increase in campus housing and meal plans, which amounts to an average of $68 per semester for housing and $46 per semester for meal plans. Revenues will be used to cover inflation and planned renovations and capital improvements.