Board of trustees approves increases to student fees, tuition for incoming students

Moss Brennan, Reporter

The App State board of trustees approved increases to five mandatory fees, and tuition for incoming undergraduate and graduate students. Tuition for current students will not change. 

The fees still need approval from the UNC board of governors.

The following tuition and fee increases were approved: 

  • Educational and technology: increase by $25 to $601
  • Athletics: increase by $30 to $813 
  • Student activities (student union): increase by $11 to $239 
  • Student activities (Ed, Rec & REI): increase by $14 to $400
  • Campus security: increase by $10 to $40
  • Incoming undergraduate resident: increase by $129 to $4,371 
  • Incoming undergraduate nonresident: increase by $580 to $19,629
  • Graduate resident: increase by $147 to $4,986
  • Graduate nonresident: increase by $557 to $18,828

Five dollars of the athletic fee will support the marching band. 

“We’re always trying to make sure that whatever we do is representative of our students and make sure that we think about our students first,” Athletic Director Doug Gillin said. “We want to make sure that we’re taking care of our student athletes the right way, whether it’s health, wellness, safety, et cetera.”

Faculty Senate Chair Michael Behrent spoke against the athletics fee increase during the business affairs committee meeting. 

“I obviously support our athletic program and our student athletes,” Behrent said. “I do think what we’re talking about though is a question of priorities.”

Behrent said more priority should be given to student wellbeing, so it would be better to increase fees for Student Affairs instead of Athletics.

“I understand athletics’ needs, but there’s a lot of units that have needs,” Behrent said. “Now is the time, I think, to use that money for more pressing priorities.”

The increase in the athletics fee would generate an additional $685,000 annually.

The increase would move athletic training interns to full-time. It would also enhance student-athlete nutrition, fund mental health initiatives, support scholarships and support operating expenses.

Gillin said having more mental health resources for student athletes is “really helpful.”

The athletics fee at ECU, a comparison school according to App State athletics, is $773 according to an explanation of main campus tuition and required fees from ECU. 

“If the fees are for an intended service to benefit students, I guess that makes sense but also at the same time, I feel like if they’re going to charge people they should make it more publicized as to what they are making better about the campus,” said Sydney Childress, a freshman theatre arts major. 

Part of the increase in the campus security fee will go toward installing a campus-wide electronic door access control system.

“(The new system)  will allow every building on campus to be controlled electronically,” App State Chief of Police Andy Stephenson said. “It really makes the campus more secure after hours.”

Stephenson said each department would be able to decide who could access buildings after hours. 

The increase will also help convert App State into a 911 call center. 

Stephenson said when someone calls 911 from a campus landline or cellphone, the call goes to Boone Police, which transfers the call to App State Police or responds itself. 

“That is not acceptable for us,” Stephenson said. “We cannot have our 911 calls from campus going to an outside entity.”

Once the system is in place, Stephenson said calls from campus properties and landlines would go to the App State Police dispatch center instead. 

The increase will also fund campus-wide security cameras and the purchase of a threat assessment software. 

This is the first time the UNC System Office has allowed an increase to the campus security fee since 2015-16. 

The 3% increase in undergraduate and graduate tuition for incoming students will generate $1,734,525 for the following proposed uses: 

  • 10 new faculty positions ($1,075,406)
  • 3 new advising positions ($190,798)
  • Library resources ($242,834)
  • Academic-related operating expenses ($225,488)

Behrent said he is in support of some of the increase in tuition going toward hiring faculty and advising positions.

“I’d like to see even more of that,” Behrent said. “That strikes me as a very appropriate use of the tuition money. I do regret that we have to increase the cost of attendance for students, but that does strike me as a very good use of money.” 

An increase for three miscellaneous service fees was also approved by the board of trustees. 

  • Board/meal plans: increase by $98 to $2,892
  • Textbook rental: increase by $12 to $312
  • Housing: increase by $46 to $4,666

Miscellaneous service fees do not need approval from the board of governors. 

“My encouragement would be to reach out to me or other plugged in students to actually help implement the fees that we’re creating,” student body president DeJon Milbourne said. “If we’re going to pay them, we should be able to help decide how they’re being spent.”

The board of trustees also approved a contract extension for head softball coach Shelly Hoerner through 2023. 

The next meeting of the board of trustees will take place March 27 in Plemmons Student Union.