Fresno Pacific University trustees approved small tuition and fee increases for next year in hopes of providing a little relief for cash-strapped students, but it might still be too big a hike for some.
The Board of Trustees approved a 1.5% increase in tuition and fees for undergraduates, raising the total to $25,616 for the 2013-14 school year, the university announced this week. There will be no increase in room cost, and as of Wednesday the cost of board had not been set.
The increase does not affect the cost per unit to complete a bachelor's degree, which will remain within the range of $415 to $510. However, units for some master's programs will go up $10 and the per-unit fees for Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary will go up $11 or $15, depending on the program.
"We were able to keep costs in several of our programs at the same rate as 2012-2013, and the tuition increases we had were very low," Jon Endicott, interim vice president of enrollment management, said in a news release. "Many people in our region know education is a key to success for themselves and their children. They also know FPU offers academic, professional and ethical development and is an investment that will last a lifetime. We're telling those people they can afford to make that investment."
The relatively small overall rise in cost was good news to freshman Vanessa Montes, 18, who worried that a bigger increase would make it difficult for her to return to the private school in southeast Fresno.
Montes said that she started applying for scholarships her junior year of high school, and she was also awarded an $11,000 President's Scholarship by Fresno Pacific. Nevertheless, she still had to take out a $5,000 loan for this school year.
"I have no clue how I am going to pay for next year, but it's worth it for me," said Montes, who is reapplying for scholarships.
Even limited fee increases may not be low enough for some to stay in school, Montes said.
"I have a bunch of friends who don't know if they'll be able to afford it next year," she said.
Montes said many students have to work at least one job -- and usually more -- to support themselves. However, when their grades start to suffer, they have to choose between continuing to work 30 hours a week or passing their classes.
Sophomore Kelsey Conklin, 19, works at two jobs on campus but also gets financial aid.
"They have given me a lot," Conklin said. "They do try to help you in any way they can."
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