Winthrop ups tuition 8 percent

Winthrop University announced in a press release Tuesday that it has approved tuition increases of 7.4 to 8.3 percent for students this fall. The college touted the fact that the increase is lower than its self-imposed increase cap of 8.7 percent, though.

From Winthrop University:

By continuing to work through the past several days to pare university spending, administrators were able to obtain trustee approval for tuition increases of 7.4-8.3 percent for Fall 2008. That’s four-tenths of a percent below the 8.7 percent cap Winthrop placed on itself June 24. The final fee plan means the 90–plus percent of incoming freshmen who live on campus will see overall semester costs increase 7.4 percent ($595) to $8,600, while commuter in-state students, who pay academic costs only, will see an 8.3 percent ($425) increase, bringing their bill to $5,530 for the semester.

But officials said they could revisit costs for spring semester because of possible additional cuts in state funding to the school. The press release continues:

“To be totally forthcoming,” (Winthrop President Anthony) DiGiorgio said, “we’re concerned by the sound of that. It means state officials believe sales tax revenues could continue to slide, even during summer tourist season. Since sales tax revenue is the base on which the General Assembly has built much of this budget, that’s a problem. If state officials order major mid-year operating budget cuts, we may have to revisit tuition and fees for Spring 2009. Meanwhile, we’ll temper our operational spending accordingly. Capital project construction and improvements will go forward, however, because they were funded some years back. We want to be sure everyone understands that.”

DiGiorgio said the public should understand the impact declining state support has on higher education: “In 1990, when most of this year’s entering freshmen were born, the state provided about 44 percent of Winthrop’s funding, while this year, we’ll be receiving only 18 percent of our funds from the state.” Data compiled from the Southern Regional Education Board shows that South Carolina provides institutions just $4,767 per full-time student, while North Carolina provides $9,237 and Georgia provides $7,736 – and that was before recent S.C. cuts in support are factored in. South Carolina higher education officials say that differential accounts for higher tuition costs to families.

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