How are tuition prices figured?

As students, we often complain about having to pay for things, and the fees that seem to constantly stack up during these short four or so years have many college students wondering if there is any order to how these prices are determined. When it comes to setting Mississippi College tuition, MC President Dr. Lee Royce explains that “It’s not terribly complicated.”

Royce said that there are different factors that go into coming up with the price of tuition every year. Healthcare costs, insurance rate increases, and pay raises for faculty have to be taken into consideration first. Tuition prices are also set in order to cover the operation costs such as electricity, plumbing, and student services. The demand and interests from prospective students along with current enrollment is looked at to see how much revenue will be made.

Administration also factors in how much it costs to attend other public and private universities in Mississippi and surrounding states. The president of the institution is not the only one who decides about tuition configurations. The university’s chief financial officer plays an important role as well.

“We have to approximate the cost of living for the professors but also try to make it affordable for students,” MC’s Chief Financial Officer Donna Lewis explained. In figuring out prices for tuition, the college also reviews the different types of services that students use, including the library, writing center, and computer labs. “All of the former students that graduated from MC paid tuition that eventually helped to build certain buildings here on campus,” Lewis said.

The price of tuition increases every year; the typical increase at Mississippi College being anywhere from 2-4%, where other private colleges are increased by 5-7%. An increase in tuition is not altered by time, year, or circumstances. Every year, administration and the Board of Trustees start out at the current price of tuition.

The prices listed vary depending on what type of student you are (undergraduate, graduate, law school). For an undergraduate taking 12 to 18 hours the cost is $7,060 per semester. A graduate student will pay $504 per credit hour depending on the degree.

In the past few years, Mississippi College has seen numerous building projects on campus, which many think have caused an increase in tuition. However, Dr. Royce said, “There isn’t any connection between tuition increase projects.” Donations and fundraisers made by alumni have played a huge role in constructing projects.

The medical science building, along with the presidential home, were paid for with donations. The parking garage and new bookstore were built to keep up with current and future volumes of students and will also increase revenue in the future by attracting more students. Tuition is not the only thing that has to be budgeted, though. Room and board, transportation, and course fees are also factored in.

Room and board prices apply to the same rule as tuition. In order to find a balance in pricing, administration pays attention to how much competitors are charging for their room and board. Increases in room and board are determined by how much money it takes to operate and furnish each dorm. Some dorms cost more than others because of the specific benefits they have, including larger room space, thermostats, or personal bathrooms.

Tuition prices, along with room and board, are based on numerous factors, and it takes several different offices to figure out all the fees that students have during their time at MC. President Dr. Lee Royce, Chief Financial Officer Donna Lewis, and the Board of Trustees all help each other in the final decisions required to make this Christian university have value.

– Richard Elliott Morris, Contributing Writer


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