Slight tuition hike, increased budget approved by trustees

Slight+tuition+hike%2C+increased+budget+approved+by+trustees

Undergraduate students can expect to pay almost $900 more in tuition next year under a new budget plan adopted by Mercer’s Board of Trustees Friday.

During their annual meeting in Macon, the trustees approved a $193.4 million operating budget for the 2011-2012 academic year. That’s an $8 million, or 4.3 percent, increase from current budget levels.

To help cover the University’s additional operating costs, the newly approved budget also calls for a 2.92 percent increase in undergraduate tuition from $30,360 to $31,246, excluding room and board and living expenses.

While Mercer’s undergraduate tuition has been steadily rising in recent years, this year’s increase is less than the 3.48 increase that took place last year, and is roughly on par with the 2.9 percent increase enacted in 2009.

All three of those increases are about half as much as those that took place between 2006 and 2008, when tuition shot up at a rate of around 6 to 7 percent annually.

Most graduate and professional programs will experience slightly larger increases of between 3 percent and 5.3 percent. Tuition will not increase for undergraduate programs for working adults.

President William D. Underwood said the University is finding ways to operate more efficiently and keep tuition increases to a minimum as many families continue to grapple with the effects of the 2008 economic downturn.

“The economy, while improving, still poses challenges for many of our students and their families. We must remain sensitive to those challenges while finding innovative ways to continue delivering the high-quality programs and services that our students deserve and expect,” Underwood said.

For more on this developing story, read the next issue of The Cluster, or check back in at www.mercercluster.com for updates.