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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Some students could see higher fees at NSU this year

Some students could see higher fees at NSU this year

Some Nicholls State University students could pay higher fees this year according to Nicholls President Bruce Murphy.

The authority to raise fees on individual programs is new for colleges and universities. State lawmakers passed House Bill 151 this year, which is a “way to generate revenue for high-cost programs,” state Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo said.

Murphy has been critical of the practice of raising tuition and fees to offset fewer state dollars. He has instead turned his focus to increasing the university’s declining enrollment from about 6,300 last fall to 8,000. Early projections call for fall enrollment to decline for a third consecutive year.

According to the Daily Comet, Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management, one of the university’s fastest-growing degree programs, is running out of room to grow. Nicholls has already identified a new building for the program, Gouaux Hall, which housed the recently departed John Folse Culinary Institute. But the program needs more teachers before it can handle any more students.

Since the 2010-11 academic year, Nicholls’ tuition increased by 10 percent each year. Last year Nicholls increased tuition for in-state students 13 percent to $3,617 and for out-of-state students 10 percent to $8,740.

This year, that increase isn’t necessary, officials said, as lawmakers were able to make up most of a $608 million gap they began the legislative session with. Early projections had Nicholls losing more than $12 million in state money, but the final cut to Nicholls is about $73,000, Murphy said.