ALAMOSA — Undergraduate students at Adams State University can breathe a little easier knowing that they likely won’t have to pay more for their education next year. Likewise, ASU officials are happy to hear that though enrollment is projected to decline, it won’t be as high as what they initially budgeted for.
When the board started the long processes of developing a contingency plan that was implemented this year, part of the $2.7 million in cuts was factoring in an enrollment decrease of 5 percent. It is now projected, however, that this fall’s enrollment will only be down 3 percent for undergraduate students. On the flipside graduate student enrollment is projected to increase 36 percent.
Additionally Karla Hardesty, the executive director of Adams State University’s enrollment management, told the university’s audit and finance committee on Tuesday that they’re up in first-time students but down roughly 10 percent in continuing students.
When Trustee Wendell Pryor asked Hardesty why the decline was happening, Hardesty said it was due to multiple factors such as the state of higher education nationally, ASU’s accreditation status, students uncertain about the budget and more.
“We are seeing every year a larger degree of procrastination by our students,” said Hardesty. “They’re just putting off registration more and more.” The university has been registering students for next semester for roughly six weeks.
Acting President Matt Nehring added that an increase of graduating students combined with a low enrollment is also a factor.
“Every time we graduate a number of students, we’re going to drop in a number of continuing students that we have on a percentage basis,” Nehring said. “I don’t think it accounts for the full 10 percent but it is certainly a component in there.”
On the topic of registration, Chief Financial Officer Heather Heersink informed the committee that the late registration fee will be eliminated. “It doesn’t generate a lot of revenue and we also don’t want to disincentivize students to register,” she said.
Aside from that change, almost all tuition, fees and rates are staying the same across the board.
“We are continuing with the guaranteed tuition program,” Heersink said. “All of our incoming students will be at the same rate as the previous two years of incoming students.”
That rate is $239 per credit hour for in-state undergraduate students who qualify for the College Opportunity Fund stipend. For out-of-state undergraduate students it will remain at $698 per credit hour and for Western Undergraduate Exchange students it stays at $471 per credit hour.
Online graduate programs costs will slowly increase to $439 per credit hour, except for teacher education. If a program is far away from that goal it will move there over a two-year period.
Food costs will increase by 3 percent based on a contract with Sodexo food services but housing will stay flat. The mandatory on-campus capital fee will also be unchanged at $97.39 per credit hour.
The rates and tuition, along with a budget that reflects the $2.7 million in cuts and $1 million received from the state, will be approved at a later board of trustees meeting.