CLEMSON — The cost of attending Clemson University will go up by 3 percent for undergraduates and 4 percent for graduate students this fall.
Clemson’s trustees approved the increases Monday. They amount to an additional $190 per semester for SC students and $444 for out-of-state students.
Room and board also is going up by 3 percent – an average increase of $114 per semester.
University officials said the increases are needed to keep pace with inflation and rising utilities costs, and to hire more faculty members, improve technology and facilities, and enhance student programs such as internships, scholarships and creative-inquiry programs.
“Clemson University remains a smart investment and a great value,” president Jim Barker said.
Trustee Bob Peeler, a former S.C. lieutenant governor, cast the lone dissenting vote in the 12-1 decision. Peeler, as well as most of the trustees, attended the meeting by phone. He didn’t explain his vote and couldn’t be reached later for comment.
The annual tuition rate for 2013-14 will be $13,054 for in-state and $30,488 for out-of-state students, placing Clemson second only to the Medical University of South Carolina as the most expensive state-funded institution.
Trustees of the University of South Carolina last week raised tuition by 3.15 percent, to $10,816 for in-state students.
Clemson remains the No. 1 choice for South Carolina’s top high school graduates, Barker said.
Tuition and fees for full-time state residents at Clemson rose by 19.5 percent between the 2008-09 academic year and 2012-13, from $10,608 to $12,674, during an era of state budget cuts, according to the state Commission on Higher Education. It had jumped by 53 percent the five years prior to that, from $6,934 in 2003-04, CHE figures show.
The numbers for USC are similar. Costs there were up 18.7 percent over five years to $10,488, and 53 percent over the previous five, according to the CHE.
Clemson’s tuition is higher than that of the University of North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Auburn and the University of Maryland, although its increase this year is less than all of those except Maryland, according to information provided to the board.
Barker said the average Clemson student pays less than half the sticker price of tuition because of the state’s scholarships and grants, with freshmen averaging paying less than a third of the total.
“In developing our recommendations, we focused on resources that need to be provided in order to have the best possible educational experience for our students while ensuring that Clemson remains affordable for South Carolina families,” Barker said.
Clemson’s new tuition and fees schedule is in line with the university’s 2020 plan, a strategic road map adopted three years ago, Barker said.
That includes reallocating resources within the university to focus areas, while shutting down programs that are deemed less critical and putting reallocated money into such initiatives as a 1 percent performance compensation plan for faculty, he said.