In-state Clemson University students will see a $258 increase in tuition next year after the university’s board unanimously approved a 1.75 percent hike for undergraduate students on Friday, July 20.
The cost of tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students increased by 3 percent, or $1,070 per year.
Student housing went up between 1.7 and 4.7 percent for first-year students and increased between 4.2 and 4.5 percent for continuing students, which amounts to an increase between $96 and $342 yearly for students, depending on the residence halls. The university said the cost of dining plans will also increase between 2.9 and 4 percent.
Along with being the second-largest public higher education institution in South Carolina, Clemson is also the second most expensive in-state school, falling behind Winthrop University.
Before the increase, Clemson’s annual in-state tuition sat at $14,712 — $158 cheaper than Winthrop’s yearly tuition. For comparison, the University of South Carolina’s 2018 annual spring tuition was $12,262.
Now, Clemson’s in-state undergraduate cost is $14,970. Winthrop, which increased its tuition earlier this summer, is at $15,230. The University of South Carolina’s 2018-19 yearly undergraduate tuition increased to $12,616.
Clemson has followed a string of public institutions in South Carolina to raise tuition this summer.
The increases come on the heels of harsh criticism from the state’s Commission on Higher Education on rising tuition in South Carolina.
Tim Hofferth, chairman of the commission, said South Carolina leads the nation for the cost of tuition and fees relative to household incomes.
“If that’s not a clear signal that the families and the students of our state are hurting, I don’t know what is,” Hofferth said. “When over the last 30 years, food costs are up 200 percent [and] health care costs are up 600 percent, higher education costs are up 1,120 percent. It’s unsustainable, and it’s pricing too many families out of the market for higher education.”
The university attributed the hikes to unfunded state mandates regarding retirement contributions and health care — the legislature has been steadily increasing the state’s retirement contributions over the past two years.
But Jim Clements, president of Clemson, said the legislature has been good to the school this year.
“There are always things that come up that cost us as an institution,” Clements said. “And we have to find a way to support those things.”
Hofferth said the commission acknowledges the rising costs universities have to deal with from the state.
“As much as we understand some of the challenges that universities face, it pales in comparison in regards to those challenges that families and students are having to pay, and [it’s] creating some liabilities that they’re going to be paying back until retirement,” Hofferth said.
The university’s board also passed its $1.25 billion 2018-19 budget at Friday’s meeting — a $95 million increase from last year.