Parents and students at Winthrop University will have to wait until the end of this month to start budgeting for the fall semester's expenses.
The Winthrop board of trustees and President Anthony DiGiorgio on Friday decided to meet later this month to set tuition and fees for the academic year that begins in August.
DiGiorgio said cuts in state funding and economic challenges such as energy and food costs have made the most difficult budget circumstances in 20 years.
South Carolina is expected to fund 18 percent of the university's operating revenues in 2009, down 2 percent over two years. State appropriations have been cut 26 percent since 1990.
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The state will pull funding from an electronic library service shared by South Carolina colleges and universities. The resource received $2 million in state funding last year; next year, it will receive $200,000. Winthrop will have to match that price to keep the service.
DiGiorgio said the user-fee mentality of higher education is one reason students' tuition might fund nearly half of the university's budget this year.
Winthrop has lost $1.6 million in state funding over the past two legislative sessions. It will take an extra $85 per student to offset next year's cut in state support and another $105 per student to replace the money Winthrop lost in nonrecurring funds.
DiGiorgio said the university is "very aware" of student and family economic challenges, and hopes to find cost-effective ways to reduce costs.
Formal tuition notices will be sent out between July 7 and 15.