Out-of-staters could get tuition discount

Shawntaye Hopkins

Tennessee student enrollment at Western may decrease when a new scholarship program in the Volunteer State starts.

But other students from across the nation could soon have a reason to start school on the Hill.

It just might get cheaper.

The Board of Regents academic committee approved a plan to allow some high school students from across the United States to attend Western at a tuition rate of 125 percent of the in-state rate.

Those students would need at least a 3.4 grade point average or ACT score of at least 24 to be eligible for the discounted tuition.

The academic committee also approved adding 13 counties to the Tuition Incentive Program. Students in TIP counties also pay 125 percent of Western’s tuition rate for full-time, in-state students.

The TIP counties being added include Pinellas, Manatee, Hillsborough and Polk counties in Florida; Cook, Kane, Lake, McHenry and DeKalb counties in Illinois; and Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton in Georgia.

Those counties include Tampa, Chicago and Atlanta.

Both changes will go into effect in fall 2004, pending approval by the Board of Regents on April 30.

“We want to continue to support a strong, academic student body,” Provost Barbara Burch said.

President Gary Ransdell said the change is only one step to improving academic quality at Western.

Kristen Bale, chair of the academics committee, said she was originally concerned about the cost of expanding TIP.

An increased enrollment should offset any costs, said Luther Hughes, associate vice president of enrollment management.

Five counties – in Ohio, Illinois and Missouri – were added to TIP last year. Hughes said there was no cost associated with adding the counties, and the enrollment from those counties has significantly increased.

There is currently some discussion about requiring students who are eligible for TIP to also have at least a 3.4 GPA or 24 ACT score, Hughes said. But no definite plans have been made.

Enrollment management officials are also concerned about recruiting and retaining students in Tennessee because of the new scholarship program, Hughes said.

Tennessee began its lottery on Jan. 20.

Tennessee students with at least a 3.0 GPA or ACT score of 19 will be eligible for as much as $3,000, according to the Tennessee Lottery Web site.

Western currently has about 300 Tennessee freshmen who are also eligible for the scholarship, Hughes said. About one-third of that group have indicated that they will take advantage of the offer and not return to Western in the fall.

Ransdell said he’s hopeful enrollment increases from students across the nation will offset enrollment losses from students in Tennessee.

Hughes said an aid package is being developed for current freshmen at Western with financial need.

Bale said Western should be sure it also continues to focus on recruiting Kentucky students.

“We believe our primary clientele of students are those that are in Kentucky,” Hughes said.

In other business

The academics committee approved renaming the Learning Assistance Center in the community college to the Alice Rowe Learning Assistance Center.

The committee also approved awarding emeritus or emerita status to several professors.

All the professors have worked at Western for at least 10 years.

Richard Troutman, a professor of history; James Wesolowski, a professor of journalism and broadcasting; and political science professors George Masannat and Joseph Uveges were awarded emeritus status.

Ruby Meador, a professor of allied health, was awarded emerita status.

Western’s executive committee approved acquiring property on Normal Street owned by Henry Hardin, a retired Western faculty member and administrator.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]