Winthrop tuition to go up 2.5 percent

FILE. Winthrop University’s Tillman Hall
FILE. Winthrop University’s Tillman Hall

Winthrop University undergraduate students will pay $344 more in tuition for the 2015-16 school year.

The Winthrop Board of Trustees on Friday raised undergraduate student tuition rates for in-state students by 2.5 percent. The tuition increase was the school’s lowest in 16 years. Last year, the board increased tuition rates 2.84 percent.

The yearly cost for an in-state undergraduate student will increase to $14,156, up from $13,812.

The yearly cost for an out-of-state undergraduate student will increase to $27,404, up from $26,738.

The increase keeps Winthrop’s tuition among the highest in the state, but university officials stressed students and parents should consider the “net price” of all students fees. When that’s considered “we are not the highest,” said Acting President Debra Boyd.

The amount of the increase was designed to help retain students, keep class sizes low and give students access to more services, she said.

Other state universities and colleges are raising their rates by 3 percent or more, Winthrop officials said.

The University of South Carolina announced Friday a 2.9 percent tuition increase, the lowest for the school in 17 years.

Other public schools in the state also have hiked their tuition:

▪ The College of Charleston – 3.25 percent

▪ Coastal Carolina University – 3.03 percent

▪ The Citadel – 2.4 percent

Clemson University has not announced how much it will adjust tuition.

Winthrop’s tuition increase is expected to raise $2.7 million and assumes no growth in enrollment, said board vice chairman Karl Folkens, who also is a member of the trustees’ finance committee. A report reviewed by trustees Friday showed that, while the university has accepted 7 percent more students than last year, the percentage of students who say they will enroll at Winthrop has increased 1 percent.

Ashlye Wilkerson of Columbia was the lone trustee to vote against raising tuition. While calling the increase a “sound recommendation,” she said she wanted to “sound an alarm” that the trustees need to keep an eye on tuition and, “when possible,” avoid raising it.

The trustees also approved several tuition and fee increases for 2015-16:

▪ Graduate student tuition will increase 4 percent to $579 per credit hour for in-state students and $1,114 for out-of-state students.

▪ Fees for 2016 summer school will increase by $21 to $441 per credit hour. The $441 fee represents a 25 percent discount of the fall and spring per-credit hour rate.

▪ Winthrop’s room and board fees vary according to the type of housing and meal plan chosen, but generally those rates will increase about 4 percent.

University officials cited rising energy and health care costs as reasons for the tuition increase. The university also is waiting for the Legislature to pass a budget that would determine how much money public universities get from the state. The annual state allocation to Winthrop has been about 10 percent of the university’s total budgetin recent years.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066 The Associated Press contributed