JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University trustees learned Friday an annual tuition and fee increase totaling about $276 may be needed to meet expected cost increases in the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Trustees also approved a recommendation to increase residence hall and campus apartment fees by more than 5% each in the 2023-24 school year.
“The direction we that we may take as an institution related to tuition and fees, what we presented to the board was a less than 3% overall increase for tuition in the upcoming year,” ETSU President Brian Noland said after the quarterly trustees meeting.
The biggest driver for a potential hike, currently estimated at 2.95% for tuition and 2.45% for fees for in-state students, is a 5% salary staff salary increase for public universities recently unveiled in Gov. Bill Lee’s projected budget.
ETSU finance staff members estimated the university’s share of that cost at about $3.6 million and figured the tuition increase would bring in nearly $3 million. The fee bump would likely cover the rest.
If those very preliminary numbers become final later this year, students would see their overall annual cost for tuition and fees rise to $9,950 from its current $9,674. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) is proposing allowing its member schools to increase tuition up to 3% next school year.
ETSU’s tuition and fees this year are the fourth-lowest among the state’s nine public universities and are 3.4% lower than the average of $10,015. Tennessee State has the lowest annual cost at $8,335, 14% lower than ETSU’s. UT-Knoxville is by far the highest at $13,244, with no other school above Tennessee Tech’s $10,522.
While the final tuition numbers are yet to be finalized, the trustees did approve recommended residence hall and apartment hikes. Housing is an “auxiliary enterprise operation” that is expected to be self-supporting and not rely on general fund money from the university.
Residence hall rates will increase by anywhere from $100 to $260 per semester, depending on dorm and whether it’s a private or double room. Apartment rates will rise from $160 to $200 per term.
The increase is projected to bring in an additional $891,000 to the housing budget next year. Trustees also approved a 3.1% increase to the seven-day-a-week meal plan, which equates to $55 a term.
Residence halls were filled to capacity this fall and Noland said the university is in the early stages of planning a new residence hall to meet expected increases in demand for living on campus and increased enrollment.