ETSU students facing possible 2.3% tuition and mandatory fee increase

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- The ETSU Board of Trustees Finance Committee recommended a 2.3 percent tuition and mandatory fee increase for students Wednesday morning. 

That’s an additional $214 per student, per year, according to ETSU’s Chief Financial Officer B.J. King. 

If approved, she said the increase will take effect in the Fall of 2019. 

“I’m not going to say it’s small. I have children and I know how important money is and how hard it is to come up with funds,” said King. 

That said, King thinks the committee’s recommendation is reasonable to make up for a $6 million dollar difference due to inflation. She said Gov. Bill Lee’s budget gave them a boost of $3.4 million but left a $2.6 million gap. 

“There’s an inflationary factor and if the state appropriation does not make up for that difference then the remainder of the difference is something we have to make up for either with efficiencies or in student tuition increases,” said King. 

King said the tuition and mandatory fee increase will apply to in-state tuition that she said all undergraduate and graduate students pay for. 

She said out-of-state students pay the in-state portion, plus an additional fee. King said they didn’t want to tack on costs for out-of-state students alone because it would make it more difficult for them to recruit outside of the region. 

“We’re very concerned about flat high school graduation rates in the region, so we need to attract students from outside of our region,” said King. 

Numbers from the last five academic years show ETSU has consistently fallen below the state university average for tuition and mandatory fee increases. 

The proposed hike of 2.3 percent is also below average for ETSU. The average for the last five years is 4.3 percent. 

“I’m not concerned that Tennessee residents will pursue education out of state based on our tuition and fees,” said King. “Our tuition and fees for in-state students are very consistent with the other institutions in the state of Tennessee.” 

The full ETSU Board of Trustees will vote on the proposal next month. A date for that vote has yet to be set. 

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