The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees on Thursday (June 6) approved a $284.8 million system budget, an increase of 1% when compared with a year ago and includes new state productivity funding for most of the two-year institutions, ASU President Chuck Welch said. The new fiscal year is set to begin July 1. Tuition and fee increases were also approved and will range from 1.7% to 3.4% at the five campuses.
“You’ll recall we had no tuition increases last year,” Welch said. “I wish we could do this every year, but we have to remain competitive in multiple areas and address critical needs. Operating costs continue to rise, and we receive very little state funding for capital projects. Our campuses continue to be as efficient and effective as possible while reallocating resources where they can. We are already seeing some very good financial results from changes resulting from our efficiency study last year.”
The flagship Jonesboro campus will increase the academic excellence fee for faculty salaries from $8.25 per credit hour to $10. The overall impact on in-state tuition and fees at A-State for next year will be $292.50 annually or a 3.4% increase to $8,900, which will rank as the sixth-lowest rate among public universities statewide.
“While I understand college costs are expensive, students would be hard-pressed to find a better value anywhere in the nation to attend a high research activity doctoral university as Arkansas State was recently designated by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education,” Welch said.
Other board actions included:
• ASU-Beebe – A 1.7% increase in annual tuition with no change in fees. The campus plans to increase support of institutional technology;
• ASU-Mountain Home – A $2 per credit hour increase in tuition only, resulting in a 1.7% increase in annual tuition and fees. Resources are being allocated to enhanced campus security, facilities maintenance and institutional scholarships;
• ASU-Newport – No tuition increase for a second straight year, but a new $3 per credit hour infrastructure fee will be implemented, resulting in a 2.6% increase in annual tuition and fees. The campus eliminated three financial aid positions but will add a director of emergency medical services and an additional student services position. The budget allows for $150,000 in deferred maintenance needs;
• ASU Mid-South – A $3 per credit hour increase in tuition only, resulting in a 2.3% increase in annual tuition and fees. The campus has reduced personnel expenses through attrition and reduction of unfilled budgeted positions to reflect enrollment declines;
• Approved A-State’s plan to name a specified area on the seventh floor of the Dean B. Ellis Library as the Eugene W. Smith Reading Room;
• Approved ASU-Mountain Home to offer an Associate of Science degree in liberal arts and sciences and a Technical Certificate and Certificate of Proficiency in construction trade;
• Approved ASU-Newport to offer a Technical Certificate and a Certificate of Proficiency in early childhood development, as well as a Certificate of Proficiency in welding;
• Approved ASU Mid-South to offer associate degrees in emergency medical services and health studies, as well as a Technical Certificate in health studies;
• Approved plans by A-State and ASU-Mountain Home to apply for federal grand funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program and Recreational Trails Program; and
• Extended Welch’s five-year contract to 2024 and all campus chancellors’ three-year contracts to 2022.