Tuition rising at USCB, TCL

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comJune 29, 2012 

Tuition at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry will rise this fall.

TCL's tuition will increase $4 per credit hour to $148, spokeswoman Leigh Copeland said.

At USCB, a full-time, in-state student can expect to pay $4,254 in tuition and fees for 15 credit hours in the fall semester, up $200 from last year.

Nonresidents -- about 8 percent of USCB's 1,593 full-time students -- will pay $8,953 for a 15-credit-hour semester, up $343 from last year.

The hikes are part of a systemwide increase approved Friday by the USC Board of Trustees.

USC president Harris Pastides said in a news release that the increases were due mainly to inflation. Tuition and fees at USC in Columbia will go up 3.15 percent to $5,244 a semester for in-state students.

USCB's tuition will increase at a higher percentage rate than the other USC schools -- about 5 percent, vice chancellor for advancement Lynn McGee said.

The school is still gradually raising tuition as part of its conversion from a two-year college to a four-year baccalaureate degree-granting school, a process that began in 2004.

Since then, tuition has risen every year to keep pace with the increased costs of hiring more faculty with doctorate degrees and offering more courses and majors. McGee said the college has the lowest tuition of a baccalaureate degree-granting school in the state.

The percentage is also higher because USCB receives less in state appropriations per student and has a lower base price than other USC schools -- about $600 less than USC Aiken's tuition, which has the second-lowest tuition in the state, she said.

"Every other institution is increasing their tuition by a percentage, so you'll never catch up, if your base rate is the lowest, if you don't increase more than other institutions," McGee said.

Tuition is up at public colleges across the state, but most of them have announced their smallest increases for in-state students in years, according to The (Columbia) State newspaper. The Citadel, Clemson, the College of Charleston and Winthrop are all raising tuition by about 3 percent.

"We're not out of bounds in this," McGee said. "We're marching to the tune of the higher-education drummer."

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