Tuition and student fees are part of college, but some might not know where their money is allocated and if more money will be required once Dixie State College is knighted a university.
DSC President Steven Nadauld and Frank Lojko, vice president of student services and government relations, have answers to questions students may have about tuition.
What does our tuition pay for?
“It goes into the general operation funds to operate the campus,” Lojko said.
He said this includes program costs, teacher salaries, employee benefits and general expenses to run the college. Money also comes from the state, but not as much as in the past.
Nadauld said just one time in the last four years DSC received an increase in state appropriations. The other three years were a decrease in appropriations. Some teachers and programs would have been terminated because they couldn’t afford to pay them if there hadn’t been an increase in student enrollment and tuition.
Will tuition increase?
“There is a point were you may have to raise tuition to keep the quality faculty, the quality programs, and the operation because students want to have a quality [institution],” Lojko said.
The decision to raise tuition is directly related to state legislation.
“The determination was made by the state that they wouldn’t continue to fund any of the state institutions,” Nadauld said. “They were going to put more of the cost of education on the backs of students.”
“It’s as if we are becoming supported more by our operations here than we are being supported by the state,” Lojko said.
Lojko said the average increase of tuition from 2008 to 2012 was at 9.36 percent per year.
“Based upon how low our tuition has been in the past, that is better reflected when you look at the total dollars than the percentages because our tuition has been fairly low,” Lojko said.
This may seem like a major increase, but DSC students are fortunate the increase wasn’t more.
“If you look at our tuition increases compared to other states, and other schools within our state, ours have been low,” Lojko said. “Some states have been forced to raise tuition 20 to 30 percent. We are very fortunate to keep it at a minimum amount.”
DSC will transition into university status. Will this increase the amount of tuition students have to pay?
“We are not going to be any different in terms of the way we spend our money, or the way we raise our money, or the need for money, by being called a university compared to being called a college,” Nadauld said.
The substance of an institution holds more weight than the name does.
“The cost of tuition isn’t based upon the name,” Lojko said. “It is based on what services and programs we need to have and what the cost of operation and staff are.”
“Whatever happens to tuition, whether it stays the same or goes up, has nothing at all to do with the difference of Dixie State College or Dixie State University,” Nadauld said. “It has to do with breadth of curriculum and number of students.”
Tuition increase is inevitable, but administration will try to keep Dixie affordable.
“We’ll try to keep the increase of tuition at a minimum so we can make it affordable for students to come here,” Lojko said.
Even with recent tuition increases, DSC is still one of the cheapest institutions available.
Nadauld said according to a survey done last year, the tuition at DSC is the lowest of 25 four-year institutions west of the Mississippi.
“That makes [DSC] an amazing value for the price for the quality,” Nadauld said. “This was really part of the reasons of our strong growth. Students were looking for a place to go to get this high-value proposition.”
“If it were up to me, we wouldn’t charge tuition at all; we’d ask the tax payers to bear the full burden,” Nadauld said. “But sometimes things you get for free you don’t value very much.”
Does student tuition or fees pay for the electricity and maintenance of buildings on campus?
Lojko said the operation and maintenance costs do not come from tuition or fees, but every building built by the state gets a certain amount of money per square foot for operation, especially for the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons.
“When the building was designed the operation and maintenance was figured, the cost was already put in there,” Lojko said. “Students are not paying their tuition dollars for the maintenance and operation of the building.”
To keep the building operation cost of the college down, renovations such as low-flush toilets, energy-saving lights and special film for windows were installed, but the building temperatures are controlled by the state.
What do student fees pay for?
Lojko said fees provide students with affordable health services, entrance to games, student activities, intramural leagues, and other student facilities. This includes the Writing Center, Testing Center, Tutoring Center, Health and Wellness Center, and the Outdoor Recreation and Adventure Center, all of which are supported by fees.
“The small amount a student pays gives them more bang for their bucks because everyone is paying at a fair rate,” Lojko said.
Students are encouraged to attend a meeting in February where a committee of students and faculty discuss the allocation of student tuition and fees. Look for the announcement on the details of time and date in the future.