East Tennessee State University held its quarterly Board of Trustees meeting on Friday; the board discussed several updates across campus and moved to approve price increases for student housing and meal plans for Fiscal Year 2024.
At the quarterly meeting, ETSU’s Board of Trustees received several updates from across the university which demonstrated overall positive growth. Among these were reports from the Athletic Department, various Board of Trustees committees and the staff overseeing the university’s Strategic Agenda.
Dr. Brian Noland shared that the university has seen a steady increase in enrollment, with very strong enrollment in graduate programs. ETSU is also looking forward to the spring semester, for which enrollment is the highest that the university has seen in nearly a decade.
Staff highlighted the new programs that the university has launched since the board’s last meeting in November of 2022, which are all working to bring more opportunities to students and staff.
During the Board of Trustees’ Finance and Administration Committee, which met early Friday morning, several discussions were had about increased costs for the 2024 Fiscal Year, which begins in July of 2023.
The first discussion involved tuition increases for Gatton College of Pharmacy and Quillen College of Medicine. While the colleges did not request increased tuition for traditional students, Quillen requested a 1.15% tuition increase for students enrolling in their accelerated degree program, which was created in 2022. This program allows students to complete their medical studies in three years, and, according to staff, this tuition increase will bring the program’s tuition cost in line with the rest of the college.
The board was also presented with a request from the department of Housing and Residence Life to increase the rates for Housing and Meal Plans for the 2023-24 School year. The board approved the following price increases for housing:
— For a Residence Hall, the price per term will increase 5.63%, resulting in semesterly costs ranging from $2,135- $5,600.
— For on-campus apartments, the board approved a 5.28% increase, resulting in semesterly costs between $3,125- $4,270.
“Everyone recognizes the challenges associated with decision to increase cost and price for students,” said Noland. “I do want to point out that this (past) year, we were probably the only housing entity in all of Johnson City … that did not raise rates. So as we look at this going forward, for all intents and purposes, this barely covers inflationary costs, if it covers them at all. It is with a lot of thought that the staff has made this recommendation, and you can see that even after the increases, we still remain far below most public universities in the state.”
Additionally, the board approved a 3.13% price increase to the Silver 7-Day Anytime Dining Plan, which will now cost students $1,975 per semester. The committee did not discuss increases to any other meal plan during their meeting. According to the committee’s agenda, these price increases were recommended based on inflation and national increases in cost for utilities, maintenance, materials and other market increases.
Finally, the Finance and Administration committee held a preliminary discussion of tuition and mandatory fees for the 2023-24 academic year, during which staff recommended a 2.85% tuition increase which averages out to an additional $138 per term. This increase is again being proposed in response to inflation, and is a reflection of a recommendation made by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
Noland reiterated that despite these approved and recommended price increases, the university is doing everything in its power to keep students’ cost of attendance low and remain an affordable option for students in the region.