Lee University has increased tuition 3.8 percent for the fall semester.
“Compared to other private schools, we think that is a very competitive price structure for a similar school,” Lee’s vice president for enrollment Phil Cook said. “We do our best to hold it as close to the consumer price index as possible.”
Cook said the university is continuing its policy of charging the same tuition of $6,600 for 12-17 credit hours. At Lee, 12 credit hours is the minimum to be a full-time student. Credits under 12 or more than 17 are $550 per credit hour.
“The first thing we consider is how it is going to affect students,” Cook said. “We are always looking at ways to keep costs at a minimum, while at the same time delivering the U.S. News & World Report top tier education that we want to deliver.”
While there was no increase in registration or activity fees, there was an increase in student housing prices and meal plan rates.
“They are minimal increases,” he said.
Residence halls are divided into four styles: single rooms, suites, apartments and auxilary. Increases this year ranged from 2.3 percent to 4 percent with totals ranging from $1,325 to 2,025.
Meal plan prices increases ranged from 2.8 to 3.6 percent.
Many students at Lee benefit from academic scholarships offered by the university. These scholarships look at a students SAT score, ACT score or GPA.
“Most of our students rely on some kind of financial assistance to be at Lee. I think last year it was (approximately) 85 percent of the student body received some type of aid toward their bill, so that is why we think of it (how increases will affect student) so frequently.”
With expansion in progress at Lee, Cook emphasized that tuition is not used for adding buildings to the campus.
“President (Paul) Conn fund raises for that and we are in the middle of a capital campaign now,” Cook said. “That has been our approach for years. The tuition does not go toward building new buildings, it goes to operating expenses.”
The cost of offering new programs, however, may be a consideration in raising tuition. Lee is offering a new master’s of business degree for the first time this fall.
A nursing program is also planned for fall 2014.
“The Tennessee State Board of Nursing has granted approval to our plan, which included the hiring of a director of nursing. She is on board with us now and in the next year she will be developing a curriculum,” Cook said.
The new communications building should also be completed by fall 2014.