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School Year Begins with New Round of Tuition Hikes

MURFREESBORO, Tenn, (ANFINSON)  --  Students on college campuses across Tennessee are bracing for yet another tuition hike. The Tennessee Board of Regents voted recently to increase tuition at all of its institutions, including a 6.8 percent increase at Middle Tennessee State.

Students attending schools in the University of Tennessee system will also face sharp hikes.

University officials said the increases result from inflation and an ongoing drop in the amount of funding provided by the state. Most students WMOT News asked to comment seemed to understand the problem, but feelings about rising costs were still mixed.

Kyle Patterson, an undergraduate art student at MTSU.

“If the tuition is being increased for a necessary reason due to the economy or whatever, then I think it’s understandable. But if it’s being increased because of other construction projects, then I think it’s unfair that we have to pay the price.”

The increase is good news for TBR and UT employees, who will receive a 2.5 percent pay hike beginning this month. Additionally, MTSU will use the extra funding to convert temporary faculty positions to permanent posts. MTSU spokesperson, Andrew Oppmann, said the growing imbalance between permanent and temporary positions is a serious problem.

“Our ratio four years ago was 80 percent core faculty to 20 percent full-time, temporary faculty. In those four years that have passed that ratio has changed from 74 percent core faculty to 26 percent today, and this growing imbalance really threatens accreditation, it diminishes student access to advising, and it narrows the capacity of our high demand graduate programs.”

Oppman said they will continue to focus on student performance, with a goal of helping students graduate quickly while making the most of their money and time.