For the first time since 2010, the Alabama State University Board of Trustees has approved an increase in tuition and fees. The increase of $793, or 10 percent, for a resident undergraduate taking 30 credit hours, will take effect for the 2013-14 school year.
"Over the past three years, we have expanded both academically and physically; but a number of factors, including decreased state funding during the same period of time, have made the decision to raise tuition necessary," said Elton N. Dean, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "We have actually had to absorb state cuts to our funding of nearly $17.8 million since 2009. No University has done more with less than ASU. This decision was not an easy one to make, but it's necessary."
"Our job is to ensure that Alabama State University remains a strong state asset and a quality institution. Keeping costs low without jeopardizing the quality of our academic programs and educational experience is a significant challenge," said Dr. William H. Harris, interim University president. "The board's decision to change tuition was reached only after thoughtful deliberation revealed it was the most responsible way to go."
ASU has a history of low tuition relative to Alabama's other public universities. Even after this tuition increase, ASU's cost of attendance for full-time undergraduate students is the ninth lowest among Alabama's 14 public universities (based on 30 credit hours) for both in and out-of-state students. ASU is the least expensive among Montgomery area public universities. Although this year's tuition increase is the largest among Alabama's universities for the 2013-14 year, ASU's tuition did not increase during the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 academic years.
Student Government Association president Sharod Campbell was disappointed with the board's decision. "School is expensive enough as it is, and raising tuition should be the last resort. The administration has indicated that this was coming, but the timing is never right for an increase and it's still tough to digest. The SGA is working to make sure that our students have sufficient financial aid and are able to fill any gaps that result from the board's decision."
The University has always taken a comprehensive approach to financial aid by offering traditional work-study opportunities, 20-hour job placements, as well as maintaining partnerships with local businesses to employ students. ASU also offers a substantial number of scholarships, having awarded 156 scholarships totaling more than $2 million during the 2013 President's Bus Tour.
"The University also has a partnership with Regions Bank to educate students on financial products and improve students' financial literacy, and we have also reached out to Wells Fargo and PNC Banks to help counsel our students and their families on options to supplement their expenses," said Zillah Fluker, associate vice president for Development. "In addition, alumni and supporters have helped to fund the Trust for Educational Excellence which provides need and merit-based scholarships for our students."
Dean said the Board and the University's administration would continue to seek additional means of supporting students' efforts to pay for their education.
"Our students are our priority," said Dean. "Our goal is to provide the best educational experience and value."
INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama State University