Arkansas Tech board approves tuition hike, $161 million budget for 2017-18 school year

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 239 views 

The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees approved tuition and fee increases and an operating budget of $161 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year during a meeting at the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center on Tuesday (May 30), according to a press release.

Included in the budget is a 3.2% tuition increase, from $219 per credit hour this past school year to $226 in 2017-18, for undergraduate students attending ATU in Russellville.

Graduate and doctoral tuition will increase 3.7%, from $274 per credit hour to $284. Tuition on the ATU campus in Ozark will increase from $118 to $122, according to the press release.

Tuition rates will continue to be doubled for out-of-state students who do not qualify for an out-of-state tuition waiver.

“To our students and their families … please know that tuition and fee increases are carefully and seriously considered as part of the budgeting process and again when they are presented to our Board of Trustees,” Dr. Robin Bowen, ATU president, said in the release. “The additional revenue created by the increases approved by the board will be reinvested in our students in a manner consistent with our strategic plan and our focus on student success.”

Trustees also approved the second and final phase of a two-year plan to eliminate the athletic transfer fee for students on the Russellville campus and replace it with an athletic student fee of $18 per credit hour.

“The 2017-18 rate for the athletic student fee will align Arkansas Tech University with the standard for such fees at several other similarly-positioned institutions of higher learning in our state,” Bernadette Hinkle, vice president for administration and finance at ATU, said in the release.

Other fee changes for students at the Russellville campus include an increase in the facilities fee by $1 per credit hour, a $1 increase in the instructional support fee, implementation of a $1 library fee and a public safety fee of $2 per credit hour, according to the release.

Hinkle said that the new rates for the facilities and instructional support fees will address increases in costs associated with academic support and facilities maintenance, while the library fee will enable for an expansion of digital research subscription offerings, archival software and library book inventory, according to the release.

“The public safety fee will help support operational costs to include a communication center, deferred maintenance, security improvements, student success programming, fulfillment of strategic plan goals and mass notification costs,” Hinkle said.

Fee increases for the ATU campus in Ozark include $1 per credit hour increases for the technology fee and the instructional support fee as well as a $3 per credit hour increase for the career and technical education general technology fee. Funds generated by the fee increases will support computer services and infrastructure, library needs and laboratory and software purchases, according to the release.