Students Feel Squeeze As College Tuition Increases

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Students Feel Squeeze As College Tuition Increases

CREATED Jun 24, 2014
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Families will have to dig deeper in their pockets as tuition and fees at public universities increase next year.

“I have a Pell Grant. I have a scholarship and my mom pays most of it out of pocket,” Tennessee State University Sophomore Jaminka Marsh said. “So the rest that's left over from that my mom pays for.”

The Board of Regents approved a 3.5 to 8.5 percent hike in tuition and maintenance fees next school year.

“It's hard because my mom she's a single parent,” Marsh said. “I have siblings as well so she's scraping up money for me to come to school.”

At Tennessee State University, the increase amounts to $450. A fee school officials said will go towards various building costs and initiatives to help more students graduate.

“Unfortunately the cost of doing business, fuel costs has increased,” Assistant Vice President Kelli Sharp explained. “Getting top personnel to come to your University, that takes top dollars.”

Last September, hundreds of students at TSU were in jeopardy of being dropped from classes, all because they couldn't afford it. Last minute donations helped keep them in school.

“I work summer jobs so I can pay for school in the fall,” graduate student Lamont Bell said. “You know you hear they're going up on prices. I feel like I'm going to have to work a little harder and save a little more money.”

The state is cutting funding for higher education. Students have to make up the difference, all while Governor Bill Haslam urges more Tennesseeans to get their degrees.

“The reason's simple,” Governor Haslam told reporters about the funding cuts, “more and more of the state budget has gone to Medicaid.”

TSU is trying to save its students money in other ways. 

One way is the book bundle. For $365 students can now download books on their mobile device. In some instances it can save more than $500.

Still it’s a hefty price, one that's becoming much more difficult to afford.

“What you pay for on the front end and what you get on the back end, it's really worth it,” Bell said.

Here’s a look at how the public institutions compare:

2014-15 Annual Fee and Tuition Increases for Students Taking 15 Hours*


Maint./Tuition % increase 

increase Maint./Tuition $ increase 

Mandatory Fee increase 

$ Increase Combined 

TOTAL Price 

% Total Price Incrs 

























































*Does not include housing, books, special course fees, etc.

SOURCE: Tennessee Board of Regents

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