The increase has been approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Vice president for finance and administration Tommy Wright said a variety of factors affect an increase in tuition.
Student enrollment can impact tuition costs.
“Across the nation things are leveling off and at community colleges particularly when the economy is deemed to be poor, enrollments increase. When the economy starts to turn around and employment is up, enrollments start to taper off,” Wright said.
Unless state funding adjusts to make up the difference, tuition increases are then required to cover operating expenses to supply the same level of service to students.
Final enrollment numbers will not be determined until September, but preliminary numbers show a slight decrease in enrollment.
“This year we did not receive any reduction in the appropriation (state funding), which is a good thing; in years past it has decreased ... to offset that you wind up having an increase in tuition,” Wright said.
Usually the biggest reason for a tuition increase is a decrease in state funding.
Increases in operating expenses and contracted services can also cause tuition to rise.
While the tuition for Cleveland State has increased, net costs for students may not have changed. The net cost is the cost to students after grants and scholarships are applied to their tuition.
“Thankfully we have a lot of great programs that help our students (such as) tnAchieves. Every student now from Bradley, Walker Valley and Cleveland High that comes straight out of high school to Cleveland State, if they participate in the program, they are not going to have to pay anything,” Wright said.
Participation requires students to apply for all eligible federal and state grants before the scholarship money kicks in. A similar program is available to students from Meigs County.
“We’ve been able to maintain our scholarship funding between the foundation and our campus funding,” Wright said.
Completing dual enrollment courses while in high school can also decrease a student’s overall college costs. The Tennessee Hope Scholarship is used to offset a portion of this. Cleveland State covers the remaining tuition amount, according to Wright.
Cleveland state still offers the same price to students who are taking 12 to 18 credits per semester. Rather than charging $120 per credit hour, Wright said his policy helps students keep costs down by choosing to take more than 12 credits a semester.
Taking more than 12 hours a semester is critical for a student to graduate on time, if they do not want to take classes in the summer or are required to take remedial courses.