ETSU’s rise in tuition this year comes with good news: it is the lowest increase since 1983.
In June, the Tennessee Board of Regents voted for an increase in tuition for many colleges and universities across the state. The increases vary slightly for each school; ETSU will see a 2.7 percent rise for the 2016-2017 academic year.
David Collins, vic president for finance and administration at ETSU, said ETSU leaders had a goal of keeping the increase under three percent.
“The state was good to us by giving us a quite a bit of money, and that helped us keep [the tuition increase] low,” Collins said.
The increase, which will see an extra $10 in parking passes, is projected to bring in an extra $2.3 million for the university.
The additional money, Collins said, will heavily go toward one of ETSU President Brian Noland’s primary goals: increasing salaries for employees.
Noland has noted employee salaries at ETSU are at or near the bottom of comparable universities in Tennessee.
While Collins noted a small portion of the additional money will go toward things such as academic courses, the boost in employee pay will affect both full-time and part-time employees, as long as they are in “permanent” positions.
However, even temporary employees will see a boost. Graduate assistants are to receive an extra $100 per month on their stipend.
With a slight decrease in ETSU enrollment, this “equity increase” is projected to be one percent for all permanent employees.
The installed tuition increase may not go towards something as conspicuous as a football program, but better-paid employees, including faculty – Noland has noted – will provide ETSU students with a better education and experience.
Collins noted how the university’s vision has not been met with any pushback from students.
“I’ve not heard about anything negative,” Collins said. “It’s the lowest increase any of us can remember. We certainly want to keep our fees low – that’s what we want to do. Inflation continues to get [tuition] up, but we aim to benefit [employees and students] in the long run.”
He added, “Obviously, nobody wants to pay an increased amount, but I think where it ended up at, I would think to see a positive response.”