Sentinel Progress

Clemson to raise tuition

CLEMSON — South Carolina residents attending Clemson University can expect an increase in costs as the university announced an increase in in-state tuition — the day after the institution announced a “record breaking” year in fundraising.

Only July 19, a media release stated private gifts to Clemson University and IPTAY in the fiscal year ending June 30 set annual fundraising records for another year.

“This is the seventh consecutive year that annual fundraising at Clemson has exceeded $100 million and the second straight year it topped $150 million,” the release stated. “The $156.6 million raised this year includes $95.9 million in cash, pledges and gifts-in-kind; $16 million in planned gifts; and $44.7 million raised by IPTAY through its annual fund to support athletics.”

The next day, it was announced The Clemson University Board of Trustees approved a 1.75 percent tuition increase for in-state students.

Under the rates approved by the board, the posted tuition for South Carolina resident undergraduate students will increase $129 per semester, university officials said. Non-resident students will see a 3.0 percent increase, or $535 a semester, from the current rate. Tuition for in-state undergraduates for 2018-19 will be $7,485 a semester and $18,362 for non-resident students.

Clemson U defended the increase stating it is below the rate of inflation and is a result “of the university’s ongoing work to operate as efficiently as possible, as well as the General Assembly’s passage of the most favorable higher education budget in several years during the recently completed legislative session.”

“Clemson students, on whole, pay far less than full tuition due to significant financial assistance offered by the university and the state of South Carolina, among other sources,” officials stated. “On average, South Carolina resident students – which make up more than two-thirds of Clemson’s undergraduate population – pay only about 36 percent of the posted tuition price to attend Clemson. As a result, more than half of all Clemson students graduate without debt, well above the national average.”

“Clemson University’s mission is, first and foremost, to be of service to the sons and daughters of South Carolina, and our trustees have once again demonstrated great leadership with this tuition decision,” said Clemson President Jim Clements. “We also are appreciative of the vote of confidence given by the General Assembly, which made higher education a greater priority in the current budget by approving additional funding for key university initiatives.”

University officials stated the school saved more than $13 million in its sourcing and procurement operations this year and reallocated another $5.1 million in existing funds to support mission-critical investments through a series of LEAN cost-saving initiatives.

“Clemson has consistently been cited as one of the most efficiently run public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and the university’s operating cost per full-time student is 40 percent lower than the average of the other top 25 public universities in the country, as determined by U.S. News,” they said.

The tuition and fee increases approved by the board will generate an additional $20 million for the university in the 2018-19 academic year. Officials said the money will go towards critical investments in Clemson’s academic programming in support of the goals set out in the ClemsonForward strategic plan, facility maintenance and renovation costs, investments in campus safety and student life initiatives and state-mandated increases to health care and retirement benefits costs for employees.

“We’re proud of the fact that Clemson has been among the nation’s top 25 public universities for the past decade, and this modest tuition increase will allow us to continue to invest in academic excellence, facilities and the well-being of our students,” Clements said.

Additionally, housing and dining costs are to increase.

“The board also approved increases in housing rates for first-year students ranging from 1.7 percent to 4.7 percent, depending on the housing selection,” officials said. “That translates into an increase of $48 to $145 per semester, depending on the housing selection. Housing rates for continuing students that wish to live on campus will increase between 4.2 and 4.5 percent ($116 to $171) per semester.”

A spokesperson for the university said the university offers “a range of housing options” with flexibility to suit student needs, and demand for campus housing remains strong as evidenced by the 10-year average occupancy rate of 98.3 percent.

“Overall, most of Clemson’s housing options remain at or below the mid-point of its peer universities in the Southeast, and revenue from these increases will help pay for rising utility and insurance costs and improvements to access control and other student safety features at the various facilities,” they said.

As far as the meal plan, the board approved increases ranging from 2.9 to 4 percent for the upcoming academic year, in part to reflect to changing dining patterns on the part of students who increasingly expect a greater variety of food options, they said.

“Just more than one-third of Clemson students participate in one of the university’s meal plans. Even with the increase, the average cost of a meal on the unlimited plan is approximately $5 and the dining costs at Clemson are among the lowest in the Southeast,” they said.

Clemson tuition rates to rise. tuition rates to rise. Courtesy photo
The tuition announcement came one day after announcing a record-breaking fundraising year. tuition announcement came one day after announcing a record-breaking fundraising year. Courtesy photo
Rates increase even after “record breaking” fundraising year.

By Kasie Strickland

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.