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SGA meeting presents benefits of raising student tuition

brittni vilandre

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Marilyn Fowle, vice president of administration and finance, talks to students during the Student Government Association meeting in Clark Student Center on Jan. 17, 2018. Photo by Sara Keeling.

Suzanne Shipley, university president, and Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs, attended the Student Government Association meeting on Jan. 16 in the Clark Student Center. The two  presented new ideas to the student’s and organizations on the benefits of increasing future students tuition.

Lamb gave the presentation at the SGA meeting to give students a better understanding of how the tuition and fees will be raised.

“Every year, we come to student government and discuss with the senators our thoughts on tuition and fee increases and, certainly, inflation goes up every year. To keep up with the cost, we generally have to adjust tuition and fee rates. We want to get with them as early as possible to make sure we have feedback from them and understand their questions and their concerns before moving forward,” Lamb said.

Shipley said, out of all the benefits, she hopes raising salaries for the faculty will be achieved even if it means going up 1 percent.

“We’ve been staying closer to 2 percent and this year’s going to be slightly higher,” Shipley said. “I really want to give our faculty and staff a salary increase as it’s been three years [since the last increase]. At some point they need to have the money to take home to their families and have a good life too.”

With the students in mind, Shipley said she hopes to focus on the percentage at which the tuition is increased based upon how long each student has been attending MSU.

“The harder thing is to decided what the percentage increase is,” Shipley said. “The way we determine the percentage increase is we try to minimize the impact on students who have been here a long time.”

Preston Busby, criminal justice junior, said he believes the rise in tuition and fees are unnecessary, although it will benefit the future students in the end.

“It’s an unnecessary raise in tuition to better our campus,” Busby said. “Unfortunately, people paying it won’t actually benefit from it, but the campus as a whole will, so that’s good. Ultimately, I do not like it personally, but it’d be good for the campus.”

Shipley said she hopes to focus on what was promised tuition-wise when each individual student applied to attend and be true to their word.

“I would rather have a student that’s making a decision [to attend the university] know that this is their price and a student that made a decision [to attend the university] awhile back and expected us to say stay low [in tuition]. I tried to stay low,” Shipley said. “So what I tell the board is try to stay between a 2 and 3 percent [raise in tuition] a year for existing students. But I’ll go up more for new students if I have to.”

Although Shipley said she hopes to focus on the faculty salary, she said she believes the increase will go more toward other matters, such as technology.

“My top priority is for the salary increase,” Shipley said. “But the tuition increase will go more for the inflationary issues like benefits and technology. We spend a lot of money on technology, because all of the student operations like registration, advising and financial aid. Every year, those cost go up.”

With the increase in technology, the need for more faculty will begin to rise.

“Every year, we have to hire more [information technology] people,” Shipley said. “We have social media and we have all the things you want to have your phone do and your iPad do.”

Busby said he hopes the raises will be put toward more contributions affecting the student life.

“Parking could come last in my book,” Busby said, “they could just have more restricted parking for people who live in apartments, so that the parking around apartments are just for those people in apartments and not for other students who do not live there.”

Lamb said he believes the top priority should be focused around space for the student activities.

“For a school our size, we have trouble fitting everything in here,” Lamb said. “In fact, in here, we’ve removed student space from the student center believe it or not, in order to have many of our administrative functions in here.”

One of the benefits mentioned at the SGA meeting was providing a second student center which Lamb expresses has already begun planning.

“What we would like to do and we feel very confident that we can do this, is take the Daniel building, where the physical plant is at, and move the physical plant to the north west corner of campus,” Lamb said. “Which is where the police station is in that parking lot. Build them a physical plant building, and retrofit the Daniel building to be a secondary student center in the like of organizations, Greek life, student government office.”

Shipley assures that each currently enrolled students financial aid will be raised to cover a majority of the change in tuition, leaving the current students with a small increase in their tuition fees.

“The good news is they have a lot of time to plan for it,” Shipley said. “As Dr. Lamb said, there’s a lot of aid money that we included in the budget that wasn’t there four and five years ago. So although you’re seeing your tuition going up about $300 a year, your aid has been going up almost $200 a year. Only about one-third of that increase for the average student applies, so you’re really netting about $100 a year having school be more expensive.”

Shipley said she hopes that with the increases and benefits towards the university it will help the school stay in a happy medium in the competition against other universities.

Shipley said, “[There’s] 40 universities and we’re smack dab in the middle. You’ve got a range of schools that are like us and not like us and we try to stay on that spectrum, kind of in the middle, but we want to give you the best we can give you at that middle price.”

Corrections

In a previous version of the article, we incorrectly identified the Student Government Association meeting as the staff senate meeting. We also incorrectly misidentified the Student Government Association meeting as their annual meeting, the SGA has meeting scheduled for the first and third Tuesday of every month.We apologize for the issue as we strive to be as accurate and fair as possible.

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SGA meeting presents benefits of raising student tuition