Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 13, 2014

CU board must raise tuition to provide quality education

ATHENS — Decreases in state appropriations for higher education have led a local institution to announce an upcoming increase in tuition and fees.

The Concord University Board of Governors has passed a resolution calling for a five percent increase in tuition and fees, a one-time $60 increase in the special equity fee and a four percent increase in room and board, university officials said Monday.

For in-state students, this will result in a $210 per semester increase in tuition, and a $77 and $74 increase in housing and dining respectively, raising the cost to a total of $3,211 per semester. Out-of-state students will see a $393 increase in tuition and fees, increasing the cost to $7,059 per semester, said Dr. Charles Becker, vice president for business and finance at Concord.

A one-time increase in the special equity fee is meant to replenish funds that are already being spent by women’s athletics, Becker said. The athletics budget is not being increased.

The action was taken during a meeting of the board held on April 22 in Athens. The increases will take effect for the fall 2014 semester.

“The Board of Governors is always disappointed when it is forced to approve an increase in tuition or fees, but we are dedicated to providing Concord with all the resources it needs to provide a high quality education to the students in the region we serve,” Elliot Hicks, Board of Governors chair, said.

“In these times when the state continues to redirect ever-shrinking resources toward other needs, tuition increases are often necessary to maintain the quality and rigor of the Concord educational experience,” he said. “We always want our graduates to be proud of the education they have received, and we want those beyond our community to continue to be impressed with the quality of our graduates.”

“We echo the sentiments of Mr. Hicks and the Board of Governors,” Concord University President Dr. Kendra Boggess said. “We are working to do everything we can to continue to control costs and provide the high quality educational experiences expected by Concord’s student body.”

One of the factors that has a direct impact on the university is the state continuing to cut appropriations for higher education, Becker said. The university is looking at an approximately $1.2 million shortfall in appropriations. University officials are trying to find savings.

Concord has seen a decline in occupancy at its dormitories, he said. People are “feeling the pinch” due to the nation’s economy, making it more difficult to fund higher education.

“When you don’t have a student in the dorms, you not only not have the tuition, but the housing and dining fees,” he said. “We’re very sensitive to the cost we’re imposing on the students. It’s important to know Concord is very generous with institutional dollars when providing institutional support for students. There is $4 million a year we provide in scholarships and tuition waivers.”

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