As Sam Houston State University continues to expand at rapid rates, resources like faculty members must expand, too. In order to allow for these expansions, the fall 2015 tuition is slated to increase by roughly $200 per semester.
The rates must be approved by the Texas State University System Board of Regents before they take effect next fall.
University President Dana G. Hoyt explained how this number was created at the Student Government Association meeting Tuesday and again to students and staff on Wednesday during an open forum.
“The university sets our priorities and looks at our needs,” Hoyt said. “Then we also look at our legislative and budget requests.”
The increase in tuition will help cover the costs of raises for faculty and staff, fixed as well as start-up rates for programs and databases used around campus, and 20 new faculty positions which the university hired over the summer, according to Hoyt.
Senior mass communication major Katherine Oliver, however, does not agree with the allocation of funds.
“My initial thoughts are that the money they are taking from us they can take from a program that doesn’t need as much funding as they’re giving it, like athletics,” Oliver said. “Sure it’s important but this is a college, we’re education-based, we shouldn’t be so focused on athletics as much as we’re focused on the students’ experience.”
Oliver also added that she feels that students should have input when it comes to where their money goes.
“If we had a choice between rebuilding the student health center and increasing parking, I’d probably choose parking,” Oliver said. “If we had a choice between expanding the student center versus providing shuttle services for the Woodlands campus, I’d probably choose the shuttle service. I feel like the students should have a say-so in what they feel is most important to their experience on the college campus.”
For the upcoming 84th state legislature, SHSU will request $60 million in tuition revenue bonds in order to expand and improve the science buildings on campus.
“We’re in desperate need of science and laboratory space,” Hoyt said. “Our priority for this session is that science building. If I were to go back and name a second, an art building would be close because we really need a visual arts complex.”
As well as expanding SHSU’s main campus, $3 million will be requested to finish building construction at SHSU The Woodlands Center.
“We’re trying to spend some funding to try and upgrade some academic buildings on campus,” Hoyt said. “All across the state, universities are requesting an increase in this fund so [universities] can maintain the facilities that are getting older and older.”
“At the end of the day the experience is about education and my comfort here as a student,” Oliver said. “I’ve probably been to the student health center once, I don’t come to school to go to the doctor I come to school to get a degree. A lot of students here, we chose Sam for the fact that it is an affordable school. It’s slowly but surely becoming more and more expensive because they keep increasing fees.”
Connor Hyde contributed to this report.