Tuition costs continue to increase

Going off to college is more than embarking on new adventures, learning how to be an adult or understanding oneself. College is essentially the golden staircase to further expand on the basic knowledge learned in high school and land  a successful career. While the list of concerns for both parents and students when going off to college can be long, the cost of tuition is the deciding factor for most families.

According to CollegeCalc, Midwestern State is ranked 16 out of 92 of the most affordable four year colleges in Texas. Though Board of Regents are proposing tuition costs to increase for both incoming students and ongoing students, the quality of education students receives from the university levels out the increase. However, the increase of tuition leaves students feeling uncomfortable about their future debts and careers.

Why is tuition increasing?

Of what students pay to support everything from faculty salaries to library books, 56 percent of student total costs comes from state and university designated tuition, while 44 percent of total costs represents fees.

Janet Clark, assistant director of student business services, said, “Tuition increases are necessary to support the university, not only the programs within the university, but to support the running of the university. The increase of tuition benefits students because it gives them quality staff, updated materials and ensures that students are getting the fair experience of what the university has to offer.”

Valarie Maxwell, director of budget and finance, also said tuition is increasing because there are always increasing costs.

“Every year things cost more. There is new technology needed to be paid for which is an expensive endeavor, and the university has new buildings that have to meet certain standards,” said Maxwell. “But we really try to scrutinize. We heavily depend on the state legislature for money, so we are always trying to stay within the budget by eliminating unnecessary costs if need be.”

The Numbers

The overall proposed percentage increase of tuition over the fall 2018 semester is 2.8 percent for incoming students and around 1.9-2 percent for ongoing students.

“There is a designated tuition which consists of 16 semesters for all students, and we do not go up on that tuition because it is a fixed rate. We are now focusing on setting a fixed rate for the incoming class,” Maxwell said.

For incoming students, the proposed increase of the designated tuition is $2.55 per semester credit hour. On average, most incoming students take 15 semester credit hours and this would increase tuition from the previous year by $38.25 making the total $2,033.25 for the upcoming fall semester. The university designated tuition excludes state tuition and the other seven fees included in the total amount of tuition. The fall 2018 tuition was a total of $4,812.25 and according to the Board of Regents proposal, incoming students will now pay a total of $4,947.

Though Maxwell said,  the increase of the designated tuition is minimal, the university is always concerned about the costs for students.

“We’re always very sensitive about the cost of tuition for our students. We collaborate and compare our prices with neighboring universities to ensure we are still affordable to students. There are also financial need base scholarships, like MSU Gold which is based on each student’s designated tuition,” Maxwell said.

The university is also increasing general merit scholarship by $200,000.

“We are reinvesting back to the students as well. While the tuition increases we want to make sure students receive something in return for the increase,” Maxwell said.

How do students feel about the potential increase of tuition?

Kiera Young Hardeman, social work sophomore said | “Prices going up? People can barely afford to pay tuition and if it weren’t for financial aid half of us wouldn’t be here. I just think it’s ridiculous how our university tries to take so much money from us. We pay to park on campus, then if we get a ticket and don’t pay within a certain time frame then the price increases even more. The meal plans are ridiculously high priced for below average food.”

Kendra Scott, psychology senior said | “I believe the increase of tuition will definitely impact the amounts of students that attend our university in the fall, because not everyone is in the position to pay tuition. I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Christopher Hawkins, criminal justice sophomore said | “If tuition is going to increase, then I think students deserve to have more parking spots, especially if they are going to continuously raise the price of the parking decals.”

Destiny Brown, criminal justice sophomore said | “Where is the money going? It seems like nothing on campus has improved for them to raise the cost. There’s not additional parking, campus food is not good and the dorms still look as if they are from 1882. I honestly believe increasing the tuition would deter students from attending our university.”

Y’neiman Quarles, kinesiology freshman said | “The increase of tuition wouldn’t be fair because some people are barely able to pay for tuition as it is.

Victoria Chiles, psychology junior said | “I feel like tuition should be the same, because the environment that we are in is not that exciting to raise it. Colleges raise their tuition because of the environment around them, and MSU has no scenery plus there is nothing to do. There are too many issues around campus, like parking, food quality, and the building aren’t up to date. I don’t think the tuition should raise because of the many issues with the campus as a whole.”

Anthony Tennison, kinesiology sophomore said | “Increasing tuition will help the university thrive and mold into a community that better serves individuals of different backgrounds and cultures. Increasing tuition is necessary as the university continues to grow.”

Khalil Finley, education sophomore said | “I feel like increasing tuition will definitely benefit our university. Hopefully we can remodel our buildings and get better technology for students, because we need it.”