Tech requests 3 to 6 percent tuition increase, fee hike

Tech submitted requests to the Tennessee Board of Regents to increase many student fees by Fall 2012.

Included is a tuition increase, an increase in both mandatory and non-mandatory fees and changes to residential housing fees and apartment rent.

Tuition is likely to increase in the fall by 3 to 6 percent.

“The Governor proposed a budget and we had less of a cut than most state departments,” Claire Stinson, Tech’s Business and Planning vice president, said. “Then the governor put back more money, but it got distributed based on a new formula, so there were winners and losers.”

Stinson said this is the reason students will most likely see a tuition increase in the fall.

Tech also proposed an increase to both mandatory and non-mandatory fees. All students are required to pay mandatory fees. Non-mandatory fees are those implemented based on a student’s major or participation in a class or lab.

An increase has been requested for two different mandatory fees.

The athletics fee could increase by $25. This fee is used to fund official University sports. A document provided by Stinson states one of the reasons for the proposed fee change is “to budget for potential NCAA implementation of $2,000 miscellaneous expense funding for any student-athlete receiving a full grant-in-aid from any source.”

Another mandatory fee, which Stinson called a student recreation fee, could see a $10 increase. This will be used to repair campus recreation facilities and replace recreational equipment. It will also be used to fund intramural sports.

Tech requested various other non-mandatory fees. These fees would include an increase in the amount paid by engineering, nursing and education majors.

Engineering has a $10 per-credit-hour increase, nursing has a $5 per-credit-hour increase and education has a $25 per-credit-hour increase on its specialized academic course fees.

Students who take lab sciences may also have new fees.

“We now have requested a breakage fee in chemistry,” Stinson said. “If a student is careless and breaks a beaker or something that costs more than $89, which some of them do, they will have to pay for it.”

Non-mandatory fees are not used to run the general operations of the University, but are funneled directly to the department the fee is connected to. Tech requested a total of eight non-mandatory fee increases.

Tech also requested to change its housing fee structure.

Tech Village, for example, could see an increase of 4.5 to 4.7 percent if the request passes. Residence halls could see an increase of 2 to 4.5 percent per semester based on the state of repair of a given residence hall.

“New Hall North and New Hall South have a low increase of 2.5 percent, and that is because they are newer buildings and do not need much repair,” Stinson said. “The rest of them, we have some major renovations to do. So rather than wait and hit you with a 10 percent increase, we will build into it.”

Tech has taken other controversial cost cutting measures this semester, like outsourcing custodial work, and is in the process of implementing a system that will charge students using campus printers if they surpass a print quota.

These proposed fee and tuition increases also come at a time when many students struggle to pay for college. Last year USA Today reported that student loan debt surpassed credit card debt in the U.S., for the first time in history.

“You can’t look at all this and say it is better for education,” Nathan Strickland, Tech English, said. “Students just want to get out of college without debt. That’s what students want and the University isn’t helping.”

Stinson remains hopeful that Tech students will understand the need for the fee and tuition increases.

“I find that students are not unreasonable,” Stinson said. “We would all like us not to have fee increases, but students are involved. The Student Government were the first ones to propose the increased recreational fee. “

The TBR will vote later in the semester on these fee increases.