The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Athens & Limestone County Today

February 25, 2013

ASU eyes new opportunity with new board of trustees

(Continued)

Tuition

Like other universities, changes at ASU bring along the possibility of a tuition raise. Glenn said it’s not a subject the institution is “gung-ho” about incorporating. “It is probably inevitable that we will have to raise tuition,” he said. “How much — I don’t know. We are not happy about doing it, but there are a number of things that are going on that will probably force it in the future.”

ASU held a board of trustees orientation a couple of weeks ago with the intention of giving the board a better understanding of the instition and issues that will be impacted particularly regarding the budget.

Glenn said there are a couple of things the university wants people to know. “We will only raise tuition when we have no other alternative,” he said.

In the past five years since Glenn has served as ASU president, tuition has only been raised twice. He noted that ASU is the only bachelorette institution in the state that has not raised tuition every year. In fact, if a tuition raise goes in place next fall it would be two years since the last time it was raised.

“What I would want people to understand is we are not resorting to tuition increases as a first response,” he said.  “I think we have learned over the years a variety of ways of dealing with things … We are one of the leanest institutions in the Southeast.”

Glenn said there are a few things the university believes are important and those things would involve a tuition raise. “One is taking care of our faculty and staff,” he said. “They have been without any kind of across the board increase in pay in five years. We are looking at a 2- to 3-percent raise, which is not a great deal when you stretch it over five years.”

He said the board would ultimately decide the best course of action, which would probably happen at the July meeting. By then the institution should know the budget situation, Glenn said. Athens State had asked for an increase in state allocation.

Glenn said while a tuition raise could lie ahead, “We take no joy in a tuition increase.”

“We recognize our students — our niche if you will — is much more negatively impacted by tuition increases,” he said. “Our typical student is a woman in her 30s with a family and a full-time job. Even a relatively small increase in tuition has a major impact on her and her family. We understand that. We agonize over it and we will try to make the best choices that we can.”

At the same time, Glenn noted, students don’t want the institution to be stagnant. “They would love for tuitions to be the same,” he said. However, students also want to get the best technology, the best delivery, the best faculty and all of those things require some investment, according to Glenn.

Glenn said he would like to present a “guaranteed tuition plan” before the board during the next year.  “This is very tentative,” he said. “It’s based on whether or not we can make it work.” He would like to work out a plan where students who are transferring to ASU would be in under a guaranteed plan where their starting tuition would not increase as long as they finished school under a set period of time. “We think the way to help our students is to incentivize focus and work to help them get through while managing their budgets,” he said. “We think that is in our best interest.

“It would mean at given time you would have students paying different tuitions,” he said. “That would be very different within the tradition tuition model.”

 

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