Fees but not tuition will increase for in-state East Carolina University undergraduate students during the 2018-19 year.
On Nov. 10, the ECU Board of Trustees approved an increase in fees for all students and tuition increases for dental and physical therapy graduate students following the recommendation of the Finance and Facilities Committee, which met Thursday.
Dental students will pay $1,000 more in tuition, rising from $27,944 to $28,944. The rate is still in the bottom quartile across the nation, said Dr. Rick Niswander, vice chancellor for administration and finance. The additional revenue will be allocated for a full-time epidemiologist/dentist faculty member. The dental school admits 52 students each year from about 400 applicants.
The physical therapy program – which admits 32 students per year – will increase tuition by $1,380 annually. The total cost per year will be $13,699, which is the lowest tuition rate in the state. The increased revenues will provide supervised direct patient contact hours for students in the clinics, support for travel and student research/capstone projects, student leadership development opportunities and to hire a full-time research coordinator/lab manager.
Last fall, UNC system leaders enacted a fixed tuition rate for first-time, full-time, in-state undergraduates and new transfer students who remain enrolled for eight consecutive semesters or the equivalent number of semesters for transfer students. Market-driven increases to out-of-state undergraduate and all graduate students are allowed. In addition, the state capped fee increases at 3 percent on its campuses.
Beginning next fall, all ECU students will pay a total of $45 more in fees per year to support campus recreation and wellness ($20) and student center operations ($25). A proposed new $5 student fee for sustainability – which had been requested and supported by students – failed. The fee would have provided opportunities to use the campus as a living laboratory, giving students a chance to develop valuable skills and obtain real-life experiences while pursuing their education.
Chancellor Cecil Staton and members of the ECU Board of Trustees spoke with ROTC cadets during a campus visit Thursday afternoon.
Max Joyner, chair of the Finance and Facilities Committee, said the fee was first presented to the committee the day prior, and that there was not enough detail about what the fee would be used for and how it would be administered.
Niswander said revenues from the approved fee increases, estimated at $976,500, will support a growing number of club and intramural sport participants as well as the cost of opening two new student centers on campus. The first opened this spring on the health sciences campus and the center on 10th Street is expected to open next fall.
The $25 portion of fees for student center operations is the second of three planned increases. Another is expected for the 2019-20 academic year.
Other changes are for specific programs or activities.
Dental medicine will charge third-year dental students an additional $360 for pre-clinical education materials. Graduate students will pay an additional $25 for orientation fees, and students who don’t show proof of required immunizations will be charged a $100 immunization administrative fee.
In other charges, ECU students will pay more for housing and dining.
Housing will have an average rate increase of 2.6 percent for residence halls. The increases range from $127 to $175 annually depending on the dorm and room type. Total annual rates will range from $4,420 to $8,160. Room rates differ per hall based on facility accommodations.
Dining has proposed an increase of $50 per meal plan, resulting in a 1.32 percent increase, due to the rising cost of food and a reduction in revenues due to the closing of Greene Hall and D360 for renovations and redevelopment.
Parking is proposing a 2 percent increase in all rates, which range from $1 to $11 annually. There are different zoned permit prices based on proximity to campus. In addition, new rates are being proposed for spaces in the garage being built next to the student center under construction on 10th Street.
Parking is self-sustaining; no state funds can be used to maintain parking areas on campus, said Bill Koch, associate vice chancellor of environmental health and campus safety. Parking fees are set in consideration of UNC system schools, the local market and the cost of operation, he said.
In other business:
The next regular meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees will be held Feb. 15-16, 2018.
Dr. Gregory Chadwick, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine, was recognized for receiving the James E. Holshouser, Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service.