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March 2009

Release Date: March 6, 2009ASU Logo

Regents Approve Tentative Tuition/Fee Structure for ASU

Recognizing the need to increase tuition and fees to provide additional services and academic programs to boost growth at Angelo State University, the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents gave tentative approval to a tuition and fee increase that would become effective in the fall.

The increase, amounting to a 14.9 percent hike in tuition and fees, would translate into a $403 increase per semester based upon a course load of 15 semester credit hours. The board authorization sets the maximum tuition and fees ASU might charge. The board will revisit the issue in June and finalize any changes in ASU’s tuition and fee structure in line with any directives from the Texas Legislature, which will conclude its biennial session in May.

ASU’s room and board charges for 2009-10 will remain the same as for the current academic year.

“Certainly, you prefer not to have to increase costs,” said ASU President Joseph C. Rallo, “but we must develop new academic programs and initiatives to attract more students and increase our growth curve. New resources are required to do that and to reach our ultimate enrollment target of 10,000.

“State funding formulas for higher education reward growth,” Rallo continued. “Because our enrollment over the last decade has been flat at best, we have actually dropped in state appropriations as a percentage of our overall budget. We must change that trend and growth is the answer.”

Under the tentative fee structure, designated tuition would increase $9.25 per semester credit hour from $82.25 to $91.50. ASU’s current designated tuition fee is the sixth lowest in the state among the 35 public four-year institutions of higher education. The increase will put ASU in the middle range of designated tuition charges for the upcoming year.

In the past, ASU sought to remain in the bottom quadrant for tuition and fees, promoting low cost and affordability as a marketing strategy. Based upon a study by Scannell & Kurz (S&K) Inc., a consulting firm hired by ASU to examine how the university could best leverage its financial and gift aid resources to maximize enrollment, that policy has not proved to be successful.

The S&K report concluded that “low cost and financial aid guarantees alone will not be enough to draw students from the state’s major population centers” and that “achieving the significant growth called for … will require much more distinctive and compelling messages” focusing on the value or return on investment of an ASU education.

Fee changes include a $1 hike to $4.50 per semester credit hour for the library fee; a $5 increase to $37 for the recreation sports fee; a $29.25 increase to $300 for the technology services fee; and a $25 increase to $80 for the University Center fee. All those fees are to cover the cost of extended hours of operation or expanded services. The University Center fee must be approved by ASU students during a spring referendum before it will go into effect.

ASU’s $5 per semester credit hour course fee is being replaced by a $10 per semester credit hour instructional enhancement fee to support academic programs and to provide specialized technology/equipment. A new transportation fee of $20 will be implemented to provide a shuttle system of leased vehicles for campus. The athletic fee will increase $10 to $25 to support ASU’s athletic programs.

If the tuition and fee schedule is finalized by regents in June as submitted this month and if the ASU student body approves the increase in the University Center fee, the costs for a student taking 15 semester credit hours would be $3,108.35 next fall, compared to the current level of $2,705.35.

However, the out-of-pocket expense for the average ASU student will be less than 14.9 percent increase because of ASU’s significant financial and gift aid support. At present 67 percent of ASU students receive gift aid, which includes scholarships, grants and other funds that do not have to be paid back. On average, those receiving such funds have 75 percent of their total cost of attendance paid by the gift aid. So, for those two-thirds of the ASU student body receiving gift aid, their out of pocket expenses per semester would total $100.75.

Because of ASU’s strong financial aid and gift aid programs, including the Carr Academic Scholarship Program, Angelo State graduates have an average debt burden of $11,306, which is 31 percent below the state average and lower than the state averages of all but one of the 50 United States.

“Even with the increases,” said Rallo, “few universities statewide or even nationally provide the return on the investment that Angelo State does for its graduates, particularly when you factor in the quality of the education and the success of our alumni.”