Undergraduate and graduate tuition as well as room and board will be increasing once again for the fall 2014 semester.
On April 3, the Shepherd University Board of Governors approved a 4.96 percent increase for both in-state and out-of-state undergraduate tuition. This increase is in line with the budget advisory council’s recommendation earlier in the semester to raise undergraduate tuition by less than 5 percent.
Graduate tuition will also be increasing by $17 per credit hour for in-state students and $27 per credit hour for out-of-state students. These increases of less than 5 percent are significantly smaller than the increases of 8.83 percent experienced last fall in the graduate program.
Room and board will become more costly for those choosing to live on campus. Next semester, room rates will increase by 3.8 percent and board rates by 2.06 percent.
According to Deborah Judd, vice president of administration and finance, “The tuition increases are necessary due to a state cut. Based on the research we have done…we believe our increases are in line with all statewide tuition, room and board increases.”
As costs continue to escalate, students from all aspects of campus are becoming increasingly frustrated.
Colleen Callahan, a junior English major and on-campus resident, asked, “When will price increases stop? I am upset they are raising the prices. I already pay a ridiculous amount of money to attend Shepherd out-of-state.”
Both Chaz Nedd, a senior exercise science major, and Allee Fream, a junior education major, find the undergraduate tuition increases to be irritating.
“I find it crazy that [tuition] has increased each semester,” said Nedd. “Students are starting to think that tuition costs will never stop increasing.”
“As tuition increases, it becomes more and more of a burden on me and my parents,” said Fream. “If we’re paying more for an education, then we should be getting more from the university.”
Graduate student Colleen Wolfe pointed out that the tuition increases in the graduate program are not proportional to the state budget cuts.
“Shepherd is increasing tuition by 4.96 percent for an increase which is only 3.75 percent,” said Wolfe. “Shepherd University has not yet been kind enough to notify the student body of the substantial increase in tuition.”
As for Colleen Wolfe’s household, she asserts that it, too, will feel the strain of higher education costs. “Am I angry? Yes, as well as feeling helpless and a little scared that I may not be able to afford to finish my degree. As a single mother of two children, school is already a stretch for me,” stated Wolfe.
Lauren Spence, another graduate student, stated she will also be “feeling the negative impacts of the graduate course fee increases.”
“I understand that everyone is under financial pressure at this point in time and that Shepherd is experiencing a deficit, but the way to correct that is not to alienate and put further pressure on the students who are actually continuing to stay at the school,” said Spence.
The fall 2014 semester begins on Aug. 25.