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Board approves tuition, rates increase

Tuition and fees, room rates and board costs will see a slight increase for the 2015-2016 school year.

Western’s Board of Governors met on Tuesday, March 31, in order to set rates for this coming year.  Vice President for Financial Planning and Administration Dr. Cale Fessler recommended a modest increase in tuition, fees and rates, which was approved by the board.

The in-state tuition rate for undergraduates will be increased by $1.79 per credit hour, based on a 15-credit-hour semester.  The total undergraduate in-state tuition, based on 15 hours, will be $197.79.

According to Fessler, this change will affect most of the students on campus.

“About 73 percent of our total credit hours that the university has are subject to this credit rate,” Fessler said. “The vast majority of our students will be impacted by this rate as opposed to our graduate rates or our online or out-of-state rates.”

Undergraduate tuition and fees will be increased by 0.8 percent, room rates will be increased by 2.5 to 3 percent and board rates will be increased by 3.7 percent.

This means that an in-state, undergraduate student who is taking 15 credit hours, living in a double room and using the standard 21-meal meal plan can expect to spend $149 more per semester.

Undergraduate online tuition for in-state students is increasing 2.7 percent.

Graduate tuition will rise 2.5 to 2.6 percent.

Fessler explained that the tuition increase is justified because of the expected rise in expenses that Western will have.

“We are anticipating mandatory cost increases of at least $450,000,” Fessler said. “A good part of that is made up of health insurance increases as well as utilities, and there are also a number of other unfunded mandatories that are out there.”

Fessler also explained that Western is attempting to provide salary increases, is working to address operating budget reductions and still receives the lowest appropriation per full-time equivalent student in the state for four-year universities.

The room rate increase is considered necessary because of increasing utility, operation and maintenance costs, as well as the fact that the residential hall wireless network coverage was just increased.

The increase in board rates was justified by an increase in food and delivery costs and a rise in minimum wage.

Fessler explained that ARAMARK has agreed to keep its increase as low as possible.

Governor Al Purcell, who motioned to approve the new rates, believes that Western is doing the best that it can in the situation that it is in.

“I still take my hat off to the entire administration, to President Vartabedian and the staff and all the faculty for providing a quality, excellent experience for the students,” Purcell said.

The motion passed without contest.

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