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06/09/2006

Winthrop Lauds Legislators in Holding Down Tuition Hike

Quick Facts

 Tuition increases for fall 2006 will remain in the single-digit range.
 Cost for Winthrop freshmen will be up 6.82 percent overall.

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President Anthony DiGiorgio

ROCK HILL, S.C. - On Friday, Winthrop University officials credited the budget recently adopted by the South Carolina General Assembly with keeping tuition increases for the fall in single-digit range for the first time in several years.

Freshmen entering Winthrop for fall 2006 will pay $372 more than last year under the tuition plan approved by the university’s Board of Trustees Friday. Without the restored state funds and Winthrop’s own efficiencies, however, the increase could have been as high as $676 to achieve the same results, President Anthony DiGiorgio told trustees.

Instead, the cost for the typical Winthrop freshman next fall will be up 6.82 percent overall – $4,750 in tuition and fees and $2,785 for room and meal plan. (About 90 percent of Winthrop entering students live on campus.) Academic fees taken alone will increase 8.5 percent for in-state graduate and under-graduate students.

Room and board charges, which receive no state appropriations support, were set by the board of trustees in April. Board decisions regarding tuition and fee charges had to await conclusion of the regular legislative session in Columbia, so university officials would know what their state appropriation would be.

On June 2, the House and Senate approved a budget that adds $1.1 million back to Winthrop’s budget after several years of post-9/11 cumulative funding cuts. In addition, Winthrop was tapped to receive a one-time allocation of $6.7 million to restore its signature Tillman Hall, which houses classrooms and administrative offices. It is one of the largest capital allocations the university has received in years, officials said.

President DiGiorgio said the legislative success is “both solid recognition of Winthrop’s accomplishments and a solid indicator of the increased influence of members of this region’s legislative delegation in Columbia.

"As our longest-serving members have moved into senior leadership and key committee assignments in recent years," DiGiorgio said, "they have a greater array of opportunities to shape final outcomes, and that’s never been more true than this year. They’ve built up seniority and that seniority is benefiting the region overall, and Winthrop as a key part of the region. We appreciate this legislative support, both from within our region’s delegation and from legislative friends across the state."

Winthrop will use the increases in key academic areas, such as creation of a long-requested new master’s degree in social work program, investments in a teacher quality program and in scientific equipment, such as that related to its collaborative work with five other S.C. institutions in biomedical research. It also will continue participating in a  national four-year accountability study tracking collegiate student learning outcomes, and continue to invest in the distinctive residence hall programming that is designed to guide traditional-age students in achieving personal and academic success, increased maturity, community awareness and leadership capacity.

Wellness also will be an emphasis next year, both as the new Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center comes online and as Winthrop continues a leadership role in the popular community-wide “Shrink Down” program.

While fuel charges to Winthrop are up as they are everywhere, trustees learned that their approval of an energy management contract that has now been in effect almost a full year has significantly reduced energy usage on the campus. That program saves about $670,000 a year in energy bills – funds that it would have taken an additional $78 per semester in tuition charges to pay were it not for Winthrop taking a pro-active approach to efficiency.

In approving the tuition increases, board members re-iterated their commitment to use tuition increases to invest in the three "essentials" of higher education for a global economy: recruitment and retention of quality faculty, leading-edge technology and contemporary facilities.

They also noted that the university pays sales taxes on all its purchases, so over $100,000 of what it receives from the state eventually will be returned to the state as a result of sales tax increases approved during this year’s legislative session as well.

Winthrop earlier this year received its third national recognition for sustained performance excellence and value. Princeton Review included Winthrop in its 2007 edition of "America’s Best Value Colleges," joining Barron’s Best Buys and Consumers Digest, which includes Winthrop as the only S.C. public university on its most recent list of top 50 “Best Value” universities.

For more information, contact Rebecca Masters, Office of the President, at 803/323-2225.


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