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Tuition increase approved

Troy University’s Board of Trustees approved a 9-percent tuition increase in its meeting Friday. And in the next vote, it also approved a bond issue for three major capital projects.

Including stimulus money, the university actually saw an increase in state funding for the next year’s budget, but decreases during several years are what hurt the growing institution, said Senior Vice Chancellor of Finance and Business Affairs Jim Bookout.

“We’re at $53 million with some stimulus money, just slightly higher than 2009,” Bookout said. “But, we’re a growing institution.”

The board’s vote will take undergraduate tuition from $177 per credit hour to $193 and graduate tuition from $200 hourly to $220. In addition, the board approved to remove a cap on $9 per-hour student activity fees, causing students to pay more after 12 hours.

Bookout said while these prices may be higher, the university will still be in the lower or middle averages for tuition across the state.

“We believe we can increase graduate and undergraduate tuition, even if these other institutions do not increase by $1 and still be below or equal to midpoint,” Bookout said. “We feel comfortable with these numbers, and if we can stay as low as we can to be affordable, we will increase enrollments.”

And in bad economic times, while interest is low, the board approved to issue up to $57 million in bonds to construct a new dining facility, fraternity housing and a new multi-purpose sports arena.

The dining hall and the fraternity village are on the top of the list, and Bookout said those two projects are expected to enter final design stages and undergo the bid process in the next three months.

The dining hall will be a two-story facility that seats around 1,000 students. The current Stewart Dining Hall only holds around 400 at a time, where Bookout said the need is around 800.

The facility will be located next to Hawkins Adams Long Hall, off of University Avenue and Collegedale.

Bookout said he anticipates, through student meal plans and expected increases in enrollment, the dining hall project will pay for itself in 10 years.

The new fraternity housing, which will be located where the homes currently sit on Pell Avenue, will be paid for by students who will essentially pay rent to the university to stay there.

The multi-purpose arena is further from completion than the other two, but the new facility will be used for classrooms, basketball and volleyball games, coaches offices and commencement.

Bookout said some of the funding for these projects has already been obtained through private donations or other bond issues.