CULLOWHEE - Western Carolina University’s board of trustees today (Friday, Dec. 5) approved proposed increases of about 6.5 percent in tuition and required fees for 2004-05, including a proposed local tuition charge to expand academic scholarships and move faculty salaries closer to the average of similar universities nationwide.

Western’s board of trustees approved the proposed fee schedule, including a local tuition charge of $300 per year, during its quarterly meeting. Fees are subject to the approval of the UNC Board of Governors.

Western sets fees for the next academic year as early as possible to give students and their families reasonable time to prepare for the financial requirements of attending the university, said Chuck Wooten, vice chancellor for administration and finance, who presented the proposed fee schedule to the trustees.

With the proposed increases, costs to attend Western in 2004-05 would total $7,429.50 per year for a typical in-state student living on campus and choosing the most popular food service plan, an increase of $459.40 a year.

“Even with our proposed fee and tuition schedule, we would still be among the least expensive institutions in the system,” Wooten said. “That’s assuming other UNC schools do not increase their fees, and we know they also will be seeking increases. Western will continue to offer a quality education at a good cost.”

Wooten told the board that the average cost nationally to attend a four-year public institution in 2003-04 is $13,833 per year, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other out-of-pocket expenses. That compares to $9,342 per year at Western, when those additional living expenses are included.

The Board of Governors adopted a policy in 2000 permitting campuses to propose local tuition surcharges to help meet special needs of the individual campuses. The UNC board last year froze local tuition at existing levels. The board this year endorsed a maximum local tuition of $300 per year for each of the next two academic years. Currently, 12 of the 16 UNC campuses charge a local tuition fee greater than Western’s, Wooten said.

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Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2003
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