University of South Carolina Beaufort students will see a larger increase in tuition and fees next school year compared to students at other USC campuses, but will still pay less overall.
Tuition at USC's regional campuses will increase at an average rate of 3.15 percent in 2013-14 with the exception of Beaufort, where tuition will increase by 4.9 percent, after a vote Monday by USC's board of trustees.
USCB tuition and fees increased 5.1 percent last year.
Beaufort's tuition is rising more because of its switch in 2002 from a regional, two-year campus to a senior, four-year campus, according to USCB officials.
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"Rather than increasing tuition all at once, we're doing it over time," Vice Chancellor Lynn McGee said. "The goal is to eventually get tuition equal to that at USC Aiken by 2018," the next lowest USC baccalaureate institution.
In-state tuition and fees at USCB will be $8,922 in 2013-14, a year-over-year increase of $437. Out-of-state tuition will rise by about $910 a year to $18,774.
By comparison, in-state students at USC Aiken will pay $9,258 in tuition and fees. Out-of-state students will pay $18,290, according to USC figures.
USC trustees expressed frustration at dwindling allocations from the state. The USC system is expected to receive $131 million this year, 42 percent less than before the recession.
USCB's tuition increase comes in May after the state Senate agreed to increase the amount of state money the school gets each year. The school would receive $2.6 million in the next fiscal year, which begins in July, compared to $1.4 million this year.
The legislature is expected to approve the 2013-14 budget this week.
USCB currently receives the lowest per-student funding of any of South Carolina's teaching-focused public universities -- $940 per full-time state-resident student, compared to a statewide average of $2,487. The increase in state funding would bring the allocation to $1,769 per student.
Gee said the boost in state money will enable USCB to fill more faculty positions and support operations previously funded by one-time money -- but is still not enough to cover costs to offer a baccalaureate education.
Fall tuition at the Technical College of the Lowcountry also will increase from $148 per credit hour to $156. The college's capital fee -- used to pay off debt and pay for capital improvements -- will decrease from $5 per credit hour to $4, according to spokeswoman Leigh Copeland.
Tuition and fees increased 2.6 percent last fall and are increasing again because of dwindling state allocations, Copeland said.
"Even with the tuition increase for this upcoming academic year ... TCL remains a very affordable option at less than $4,000 per year for full-time tuition and fees," she said.
With S.C. Lottery Tuition Assistance included -- which most South Carolina residents qualify for -- tuition and fees for a full-time semester come to less than $850, Copeland said.
The (Columbia) State newspaper contributed to this report.