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Southern Arkansas University Raises Fees, ASU May be Next

(MAGNOLIA) Tuition and fees are rising at yet another Arkansas university. With other institutions in sight to also raise their rates as well.

Southern Arkansas University, the second-to-last of the state’s public universities to vote on its tuition and fees for next year, is increasing academic costs by 3%. Room and board, required of students 21 or younger or who have completed fewer than 60 credit hours, will be 4.5% more.

In their meeting Thursday, SAU trustees did not raise tuition or housing costs at the SAU Tech campus in Camden, according to the university news release. They did, however, add a $3-per-credit-hour safety fee.

All but one of the state’s public universities has raised tuition so far. Last week, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock became the first to decline to raise tuition but increased fees by 3%. Arkansas State University trustees will vote on tuition and fees at the Jonesboro university next week.

Voter-mandated minimum-wage increases mean higher custodial costs, Allen said. The university also will continue increasing academic support, which Allen said recently resulted in a 6.5% increase in the university’s graduation rate during the past three years.

For years, the sustainability and expanding colleges and universities footprint has increasingly been on the students attending those schools.

Annual tuition increases long have been blamed on the lack of any additional government funding that doesn’t keep up with inflation and other needs. They were standard in Arkansas for years before last year’s tuition freeze, requested by Governor Asa Hutchinson. SAU increased fees last year while keeping tuition flat.

The increased tuition and fees have helped create student-loan debt that now totals more than $1.5 trillion nationwide.

The cost of college is gaining more attention among Democratic presidential candidates, who have called for varying levels of free tuition programs and even the cancellation of most borrowers’ current debt.

In-state students who take 30 credit hours over two semesters next year at SAU will pay $8,935 in tuition and fees, up from $8,676 this year. Room and board will be $6,416 next year, up from $6,140 this year.

The room rate will increase to pay for student housing renovations, and the board rate will increase to pay for higher minimum wages at the university’s food contractor, according to the news release.

Tuition plus an athletic fee will be $233 per credit hour. For the first time, the university will separate its athletic fee from its tuition price next year. This year, students paid $228 for both, and next year tuition will be $214 with an athletic fee of $19.

The university left several fees at the same price but raised the academic excellence fee from $3 to $5, the computer technology fee from $12.50 to $13, the facility fee from $19 to $19.50 and the library fee from $2.50 to $3 — all per credit hour. The document fee increased from $8 to $10 per semester.

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