TSU raises tuition, salaries for fall term

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2000

Staff Writer

June 15, 2000 10 PM

Because of a desire to give instructors a raise, Troy State University officials have raised tuition.

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The University’s Board of Trustees voted May 12 to raise tuition about seven percent.

Tuition for the 2000-2001 academic year will be $1,425 per semester for in-state students and $2,850 for out-of-state students.

During the past year, tuition was $1,330 per semester for in-state students and $2,660 each term for those from other states.

Those figures represent tuition costs for a full-time student, who takes 12 to 16 hours of classes.

It is those full-time students who are not pleased that their checking accounts will be taking a hit when it comes time to register for the fall semester.

"I’m very upset about it," said Latrina Doster.

"It just seems like they raise it, but we don’t see the increase," the senior from Birmingham said, adding there is no visible reason for the increases in tuition.

"We hardly see our money," Doster said of such things as the "lousy" dormitory rooms.

Lynn Johnson is also upset about the tuition increase because she already incurs an expense for traveling from Red Level each day.

"I don’t like it at all," the commuter student said. "I already have the expense of gas and, now, more tuition."

So, why is Troy State raising tuition?

University officials are blaming the need for an increase on the Alabama Legislature and have referred all questions on the matter to the school’s public affairs office.

Tom Davis of TSU’s public affairs office, said the board of trustees decided to raise tuition because of a need for additional revenue to cover operational costs such as, inflation and technology.

"We have to get the money from some source or something will have to go lagging," Davis said.

Extra money coming in to Troy State from the state’s Education Trust Fund will amount to almost $2 million and that money is being designated to increase salaries.

Troy State was among universities in the state that lobbied the Alabama Legislature on behalf of "underpaid" faculty.

In January, TSU Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. began lobbying the Alabama Legislature to protest the discrepancy between pay for teachers in public kindergarten through 12 and university faculty.

A letter Hawkins sent to all legislators pointed out salaries in Alabama ranked 29th in the nation and 23rd when adjusted for the cost of living and benefits. That compared to the 43rd ranking for university faculty.

"Five years ago, when the push began to improve the salary structure for K through 12 teachers, they ranked 41st in the nation," Hawkins said. "Even this poor ranking for K through 12 in 1994 is better than the 43rd ranking of Alabama’s universities in 1999."

Hawkins said the majority of the state’s college and university presidents have been working for changes.

The move "reflects our committment to bring our faculty salaries up to par," said Hawkins, who is serving a two-year term as chairman of the Alabama Council of College and University Presidents.

Earlier this year, the presidents voted to apply every dollar of appropriations provided for fiscal year 2000-2001 to compensating faculties and staffs.

The Legislative Fiscal Office Request of universities and two-year colleges for the 2001 fiscal year stated, "A continuation of funding equal to the FY 2000 appropriation would result in an effective budget cut due to general inflation of approximately $600,000 or a 1.8 percent budget reduction."

That reduction would force the elimination of non-tenured faculty, administrative support staff or the need to increase tuition and fees. Estimates were each one-percent reduction in appropriation would result in the elimination of approximately 10 non-tenured faculty of staff. Cuts would also would have been made to technology "jeopardizing the competitiveness of the system," the budget request stated.

The request of an 8.24 percent increase over the 1999-2000 appropriation would have funded an overall increase in salaries and benefits of 6.16 percent. TSU’s request stated each one percent increase in appropriations would have allowed the school to give a .75 percent increase in salaries and benefits.

For that reason, TSU officials pledged an increase of appropriations equal to 8.24 percent would go to fund salary and benefits.

By designating state funding to salaries, TSU had to raise tuition, Davis said.

The University of North Alabama in Florence has done the same thing for the same reason.

Earlier this week, UNA’s Board of Trustees voted to do the same. An undergraduate at UNA who is taking 12 credit hours will pay $1,164, compared to the $1,116 paid this past year.

Comparatively, TSU’s tuition is in line with the larger university’s in Alabama. At the University of Alabama, tuition for an in-state student taking 12 to 18 hours is $1,475. Auburn University’s tuition is $1,575 per semester for an in-state student taking 10 to 15 hours.

The last time TSU raised tuition was when it converted from the quarter to the semester system this time last year.