Clemson University Trustees approve tuition increase
CLEMSON — The Clemson University Board of Trustees today approved a 1.75 percent tuition increase for in-state students, underscoring the university’s continued commitment to providing a high-quality college education at an affordable cost to the residents of South Carolina.
Under the rates approved by the board, the posted tuition for South Carolina resident undergraduate students will increase $129 per semester. Non-resident students will see a 3.0 percent increase, or $535 a semester, from the current rate. Tuition for in-state undergraduates for 2018-19 will be $7,485 a semester and $18,362 for non-resident students.
The increase, which is below the current rate of inflation, is a result of the university’s ongoing work to operate as efficiently as possible, as well as the General Assembly’s passage of the most favorable higher education budget in several years during the recently completed legislative session.
Clemson students, on whole, pay far less than full tuition due to significant financial assistance offered by the university and the state of South Carolina, among other sources. On average, South Carolina resident students – which make up more than two-thirds of Clemson’s undergraduate population – pay only about 36 percent of the posted tuition price to attend Clemson. As a result, more than half of all Clemson students graduate without debt, well above the national average.
“Clemson University’s mission is, first and foremost, to be of service to the sons and daughters of South Carolina, and our trustees have once again demonstrated great leadership with this tuition decision,” said Clemson President Jim Clements. “We also are appreciative of the vote of confidence given by the General Assembly, which made higher education a greater priority in the current budget by approving additional funding for key university initiatives.”
Clemson saved more than $13 million in its sourcing and procurement operations this year and reallocated another $5.1 million in existing funds to support mission-critical investments through a series of LEAN cost-saving initiatives. Clemson has consistently been cited as one of the most efficiently run public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and the university’s operating cost per full-time student is 40 percent lower than the average of the other top 25 public universities in the country, as determined by U.S. News.
The tuition and fee increases approved by the board will generate an additional $20 million for the university in the 2018-19 academic year. That money will be used to pay for:
*Critical investments in Clemson’s academic programming in support of the goals set out in the ClemsonForward strategic plan
*Facility maintenance and renovation costs
*Investments in campus safety and student life initiatives
*State-mandated increases to health care and retirement benefits costs for employees
“We’re proud of the fact that Clemson has been among the nation’s top 25 public universities for the past decade, and this modest tuition increase will allow us to continue to invest in academic excellence, facilities and the well-being of our students,” Clements said.
Housing and dining costs to increase modestly
The board also approved increases in housing rates for first-year students ranging from 1.7 percent to 4.7 percent, depending on the housing selection. That translates into an increase of $48 to $145 per semester, depending on the housing selection. Housing rates for continuing students that wish to live on campus will increase between 4.2 and 4.5 percent ($116 to $171) per semester.
The university offers a range of housing options with flexibility to suit student needs, and demand for campus housing remains strong as evidenced by the 10-year average occupancy rate of 98.3 percent. Overall, most of Clemson’s housing options remain at or below the mid-point of its peer universities in the Southeast, and revenue from these increases will help pay for rising utility and insurance costs and improvements to access control and other student safety features at the various facilities.
Finally, the board approved meal plan increases ranging from 2.9 to 4 percent for the upcoming academic year, in part to reflect to changing dining patterns on the part of students who increasingly expect a greater variety of food options.
Just more than one-third of Clemson students participate in one of the university’s meal plans. Even with the increase, the average cost of a meal on the unlimited plan is approximately $5 and the dining costs at Clemson are among the lowest in the Southeast.