Tuition will increase 2 percent for 2017-18
Apr 12, 2017
Vice President Dr. Leroy Durant speaks with The Panther on March 30. (Panther photo)
Claflin University will increase tuition by 2 percent in the coming year.
Dr. Leroy Durant, vice president for student development and services, said the board of trustees approved the increase in March. An on-campus student will pay $552 more per year while the off-campus student will see a hike of $339.
A student living on campus will pay $12,796 a semester in 2017-18, with an additional cost applying to some housing. The off-campus student’s cost will be $8,130 per semester.
"When you look at the cost of education, how do we get all the things that we need to get done?” Durant said. “Parents don't want to send kids to a run-down school. Some things need to be enhanced so it can be better for the students.”
The tuition increase is necessary as part of funding key projects on campus, Durant said. Among them are replacing campus water infrastructure, making gymnasium improvements, opening a new health and wellness center, updating online courses and upgrading the library.
Tuition increased by 3 percent from 2015-16 to the current year but the cost to attend Claflin remains lower than a majority of private colleges in South Carolina, Durant said.
“Students have to understand because they often forget,” Durant said. “This is a school, but it is still a business.”
Still, maintaining affordability is a priority, Durant said.
“Here at Claflin we strive to keep costs down,” Durant said. “We do not want money to be the hurdle standing in a perspective student’s path.”
Durant said added tuition dollar also help fund Claflin’s in-house financial-aid efforts to students in need of special assistance.
Work on some campus improvements will be visible soon, Durant said.
On May 13, Claflin will begin the water infrastructure project, which will provide new piping to all university properties.
The Jonas T. Kennedy Center improvements will include adding a health and wellness center, track, food court, basketball court and weight room.
“This way we do not have to wait until the university sports are over to do intramural sports,” Durant said of adding the second basketball court.
Claflin University plans to update online courses, improve the information technology center, upgrade the library and further expand international student recruitment, Durant said.
“The improvements will help with accreditation,” Durant said.
On other issues, the veteran administrator told The Panther that he is concerned about the mental health of many students.
“Mental health has become a focus of all of us in this business,” Durant said. “We are seeing more and more mental health issues on campuses, including ours.”
Students are faced with many challenges these days, Durant said, not the least of which is paying their own way to college. “That is very stressful.”
Durant said, “I am dealing with more issues.”
To assist students, Claflin plans to hire a certified psychiatrist, Durant said.
"One of our biggest challenges is mental help,” Durant said. Help is available if students will reach out for it.
“We always tell the students to seek help,” Durant said.