BY: ALEX CARSON
A total of 21 student, faculty and staff members gathered at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 in Walnut Hall of the Keen Johnson Building to question and listen to President Doug Whitlock present tuition rates for fiscal year 2014.
According to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), a 3 percent cap on tuition increases has been placed on state universities, which is the smallest increase for public institutions in 15 years.
The forum, hosted by the president’s office, was an official report to the Eastern community following the release of this information.
President Whitlock began by jokingly pointing out a student who wore a University of Kentucky (UK) shirt to the forum. After a few laughs, Whitlock segued by saying Eastern’s percentage increase for the upcoming year was less than that of UK.
“Next year tuition will increase by 2.95 percent,” Whitlock said. “This is below the cap and below UK and Louisville, percentage wise.”
Once the overall increase was announced, Whitlock broke down each set of proposed rates in more detail, ranging from meal plans to online courses.
Nicole Wells, 19, English education major from Winchester, questioned the proposed increased rates for distance learning courses at Eastern.
“Student use of distance learning has increased from 2000 to 2008 from 81 percent to 20 percent,” Wells said. “Of the 71 percent of undergraduates working, one third of them hold a full time job.”
Wells said with the increased responsibilities for students, Eastern should not have such a high rate for online courses. She referenced Eastern’s mission statement saying the university will remain responsible for serving students in unique and needed ways.
Madelyn Street, the student body president, said the president explained the increases well.
“Whitlock responded well to questions proposed,” Street said. “He let everyone know that our current plan encourages the in-class setting rather than online. This ‘philosophy,’ as he stated, is what makes our rates incomparable to other colleges.”
With low attendance and a brief questioning portion, Whitlock wrapped up the event quickly. He informed the campus community that this cap might hinder the future growth of the university.
“We have programs that need to grow that we simply do not have resources for,” said Whitlock.