Board of Regents to consider tuition increase

A student walks in front of Cherry Hall on Feb. 22.

Leo Bertucci

The WKU Board of Regents will consider two proposals for tuition in a special meeting Wednesday — one holding the line for the coming year, and the other increasing tuition by 2%.

The board also will vote on waiving the surcharge students pay for taking a class online for 2020-21. That fee currently is $150 per credit hour, or $450 for a three-hour course.

If the board adopts the 2% increase in tuition for in-state undergraduates, it would generate about $2.4 million for a budget expected to be hit hard by the global coronavirus pandemic. WKU has projected it will face a budget shortfall of $27.1 million in 2020-21 because of expected declines in enrollment and state support as a result of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.

According to documents in the regents’ agenda packet, WKU President Timothy Caboni is making no recommendation on whether the regents should hold tuition steady or increase it.

A 2% increase in tuition would add a little more than $100 to the current $5,401 in tuition paid by in-state undergrads.

The elimination of the distance learning surcharge fee, which is currently set at $150 per credit hour, would result in a one-year revenue loss of $4.15 million, according to agenda documents.

About $1.6 million of the $4.15 million would directly affect the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach. DELO would be expected to handle the $1.6 million deficit by reducing its expenditures equally. The remaining $2.55 million would “contribute to the total anticipated budget shortfall of $27.1 million,” according to the documents.