Students have noticed an increase in tuition and fees over the past few years and although tuition has not increased for the 2021-2022 academic year, the average rate of tuition and fees has increased steadily over the past 10 years in-state and out-of-state. undergraduate and graduate students.
Many students are unaware of the specific costs that tuition and fees cover.
Henry Limbo, a freshman majoring in pre-med and French, said he had a “vague understanding” of tuition and service fees.
Limbo also received the Spirit of Auburn Presidential Scholarship and the National Merit Scholarship, which eased his financial burden at Auburn. However, he still had expenses that were not covered by the scholarship,
“If I wasn’t on scholarship, I don’t think I would have come to Auburn because my decision to come to Auburn was mainly the fact that most of my tuition was going to be paid and I knew I was going to live with,” he said.
The average tuition and fee rate for full-time undergraduate and graduate students in the state for the 2021-22 school year is $5,913. The rate is significantly higher for international students and students in certain programs such as veterinary medicine, while other programs such as nursing incur additional fees in addition to tuition and core fees.
Jack Greenwald, a senior student dual majoring in aviation management and visual media with a minor in business, is an out-of-state student whose tuition is almost double the amount for students at State.
According to him, he thinks the tuition is “worth it” due to the ever-growing resources and facilities put in place on campus to enhance the student experience.
However, he offered some suggestions on what the University could do to help students better understand exactly where their money is going.
“If you’re accessing UA access and accessing my finances, maybe have someone post a diagram with a GI Bill,” Greenwald said. “You could have notes on it that explain each segment of the GI Bill and what it covers or put an accompanying note explaining any changes in services and why, just so students don’t assume that Auburn is increasing the fees just to make more money, because it’s a public university. So if we taxpayers are funding this campus, I’d say we deserve to know where every dollar goes?”
According to CFO Kelli Shomaker, rates are higher for these programs because of the resources such as equipment needed to better prepare and educate them for their careers and meet accreditation standards.
While tuition fees have not increased, but student service fees have.
The current student service fee is $873. The service fee covers programs, facilities, organization, and event costs for the school and students. A few of these fees go to campus recreation, wellness, sports, and the transit system.
According to Shomaker, these fees help keep some facilities running and provide a better student experience.
“Our students have made it very clear that they want more durable buses that run on much cleaner fuel. These buses cost more. But again, it was a request, it came from our students. So we presented it to our board, and they approved it,” Shomaker said.
The full breakdown of student service fees can be viewed online on the Auburn University website.
Although the Student Service Fee is divided into components, the Tuition Fee is not. Therefore, many students may skip tuition coverage.
All students are required to pay tuition fees. Students completing an off-campus internship required to graduate must also pay tuition and service fees.
According to Shomaker, tuition covers faculty and staff expenses and university expenses such as roads and utilities.
“We call it our infrastructure. So just like a city would have. Cities have roads, cities have power stations. We have chilled water plants that help, you know, all of our buildings. It’s a big business,” Shomaker said.
Overall, Shomaker wants students to know that the administration is concerned about tuition and that when they make decisions, it’s always in their heads.
“They [students] are our stakeholders. And we strive to strike that balance between providing them with the best possible education. So the best sometimes equates to expensive equipment, a new lab facility that we need to build and keep their rates as low as possible,” Shomaker said.