Official: WKU competitive in international graduate tuition

Rialda Zukic

The implementation of new tuition rates for international graduate students has fixed glitches found in last year’s tuition model, according to university officials.

The old model assumed students would take a 10-hour course load, therefore overcharging those only taking nine hours.

“I think it’s important to emphasize the number of students enrolled in nine credit hours, because now they’re being charged for nine credit hours instead of last year’s model when they were being charged for (the equivalent) of 10,” said Becky Wharton in the Graduate Studies office.

The new tuition model based on credit hours taken allows those students only taking nine hours to pay $8,658 compared to the flat rate of $9,550 from last semester. However, this increases tuition rates for those taking more than 10 credit hours.

“In the old system, students taking nine hours, actually, in truth, were paying a slightly inflated rate,” said Kinchel Doerner, interim dean of Graduate Studies and Research. “The students that were taking 10 hours, the rate kind of changed, because they got an extra value in that extra credit hour they were taking.

“What that meant was if you fixed that quirk in the way that was calculated, and that actually caused the amount of money that you would actually pay for a nine hour credit load to go down.”

Most international graduate students are funded by various scholarships.

Without recognizing those students funded by scholarships, there are 52 international graduate students taking more than 10 hours this semester and two students taking the 15-hour maximum.

“This leaves a total of 52 of these 265 (students) who probably are experiencing an impact,” Doerner said. “I think that’s reasonable. The extent of the impact, we don’t necessarily have those numbers, but I think it’s probably minimal.”

Among the 52 students, which is 19.6 percent of international graduate student population, is Ranjana Roka, a graduate student from Nepal who is not receiving scholarships that cover her tuition expenses completely.

Roka said she hopes to obtain a graduate assistantship next semester, which will help pay for tuition costs. Otherwise, Roka said she may have to look into other universities because she can’t afford to pay the increased tuition price.

WKU’s international graduate tuition rates based on nine-hour enrollment are $8,658. The University of Kentucky charges students $10,392 per semester for graduate students at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and the University of Louisville charges $9,045 per semester at the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

“When you compare us to other schools, we go toe to toe with any of them,” said Crissy Priddy, assistant director of Graduate Studies and Research. “I think our graduate international enrollment does increase because our faculty does do an excellent job of teaching these students and our name precedes us.

“We provide a great education value to these students at a real cheap rate.”