Yearly tuition and fees are $4,513 this year. The increase will mean a jump of $594, to a total of $5,107.
Chancellor Donald Reaves said the jump in fees and tuition is needed to help make up for deep cuts in state funding. WSSU has sustained $31 million in state budget cuts over the past three years.
“There are good reasons as to why we need to raise tuition, and that is to serve the critical needs of our students,” said Reaves, who is coming off a monthlong medical leave. “We need the revenue to support that.”
Officials with the UNC system said in the fall that it would allow its member institutions to exceed the mandated 6.5 percent cap on tuition and fee increases so they could “catch up” to the rates charged by peer institutions and bring in much-needed revenue.
Peer institutions are universities of similar size and curriculum.
WSSU is the least expensive among its peer institutions, which includes such schools as Norfolk State University and Tennessee State University.
Even with the increase, WSSU will remain one of the least expensive schools among its peers.
The UNC system’s board of governors is expected to vote on the rate increases at its January meeting.
Reaves said the university needs to take advantage of the “catch-up” opportunity. “You won’t see this kind of increase every year,” Reaves said.
Still, students will suffer, said junior Moriah Suber, who was studying for her final exams when she learned of the new increases.
“I don’t understand why they do it if the goal is to keep students in school,” said Suber, who predicted the increase would cause a financial hardship for many students. “For me, there’s nothing I can do about it but pay and try to stay in school.”
The increases were determined by a campus committee that included staff members and seven students.
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