Clemson University students will pay at least $258 more for classes in the upcoming school year.
Clemson’s board of trustees on Friday approved a 1.75 percent tuition increase for in-state students, or $258 more per year, and a 3 percent increase for out-of-state students, an increased cost of $1,070 per year. The board also increased housing and food costs. The increases are on top of program-specific student fee increases approved late last year.
“Obviously, nobody likes increased fees or increased tuition, but the coard of trustees always looks out for the best interests of the students,” said Clemson student body president Mason Foley, a senior majoring in management. “It’s tough to argue against making our education better. Like they say in football, ‘the best is the standard’ ... increasing tuition is going to allow us to do that.”
The university said it needed to raise tuition to pay for state-required health care and retirement benefit increases, safety initiatives, legal costs, maintenance and hiring teachers. Between the tuition and fee increases and enrollment growth, Clemson expects to bring in an additional $31.1 million student fee revenue, according to Clemson spokesman Joe Galbraith.
“I want to say I’m always sensitive to rising tuition costs,” Clemson President James Clements said. “We do the best we can to keep the costs down.”
Clements pointed to Clemson’s record-high fundraising during the fiscal year that ended June 30, in which $156 million in donations were used to create 88 new scholarships and fellowships.
The increase comes as student loan debt exceeds $1.5 trillion, surpassing every type of debt Americans hold except for mortgage debt.
“As college costs continue to rise, and students look for relief from crippling debt, we should be focused not on raising tuition but instead on cutting the total cost of college (and) reining in university spending,” said Commission on Higher Education Chairman Tim Hofferth.
The university raised tuition despite receiving an additional $12.7 million from the state Legislature.
“The state was very very good to us this year, as they have been in the past, and that helped us keep tuition much lower,” Clements said.
The commission, the state’s higher education oversight body, has been critical of rising tuition rates at colleges and universities throughout the state. The commission issued the same statement when USC raised tuition and fees 2.9 percent for in-state students earlier this month.
Clemson already had the second-highest in-state tuition of all public universities in the state in 2017 — only Winthrop University’s was higher, according to the commission. It wasn’t always that way: From 1988 until 2000, Clemson charged students less for tuition than did USC.
Last year, Clemson increased tuition 2.75 percent for in-state undergraduates, 4.25 percent for out-of-state undergraduates and 7.6 percent for graduate students.
Student housing prices will increase 1.7 to 4.7 percent, depending on which dorm a student is in and what class they are in. Meal plans will increase between 2.9 percent and 4 percent, depending on the meal plan. Roughly 35 percent of Clemson students purchase meal plans, according to a fact sheet Clemson provided.
The food price increases are needed to pay for fresher, higher quality food, and “more physical amenities in dining locations,” according to the fact sheet. The housing increase is primarily to pay for safety initiatives and increased utility and insurance costs, according to the fact sheet.
How much will you pay?
Tuition costs, per semester
In-state undergraduate students: $7,485 (1.75 percent increase)
Out-of-state undergraduate students: $18,362 (3 percent increase)
Meal plan costs, per semester
Unlimited +300: $2,215 (4 percent increase)
Unlimited +200: $2,110 (3.9 percent increase)
Unlimited +100: $2,010 (4.1 percent increase)
Block 175 +300: $1,091 (2.9 percent increase)
Block 30 +300: $645 (4 percent increase)
Student housing costs by dorm for first-year students, per semester
Core Campus - Traditional (double room): $4,055 (3.05 percent increase)
Core Campus - Traditional (single room): $4,650 (3 percent increase)
Core Campus - Honors Suites (double suite, quad occupancy with bath): $4,625 (3 percent increase)
Core Campus - Honors Room (double room with bath): $4,375 (3.07 percent increase)
Core Campus - Honors Room (single room with bath): $4,840 (3.09 percent increase)
Douthit Hills East (double room): $4,255 (inaugural year)
Douthit Hills East (single room): $4,850 (inaugural year)
Holmes (double suite, quad occupancy with bath): $3,245 (4.54 percent increase)
Benet, Cope, Geer, Sanders, Young: $2,806 (1.74 percent increase)
Mauldin, Byrnes, Lever: $2,885 (4.61 percent increase)
Manning: $2,758 (4.61 percent increase)
Manning (interior rooms, high-rises): $1,900 (4.74 percent increase)
Source: Clemson fact sheets