Tuition for South Carolina residents at The Citadel could increase 7.3 percent next year.

Col. Sue Mitchell, vice president of finance and business affairs, said the jump in tuition from $8,735 this year to $9,370 in the 2010-2011 school year is an early estimate. The increase would help the school compensate for more state budget cuts.

Early state budget proposals indicate that the college could lose an additional $2.4 million next year, she said.

Tuition for out-of-state students could increase 9.4 percent, from $22,545 to $24,668.

Mitchell presented the proposed tuition plan to the Board of Visitors' Finance Committee on Thursday. The Citadel is among the first of the state's higher education institutions to hold a public discussion on tuition increases for next year.

It will make a final decision on tuition rates in June, school leaders said.

The state's military college raised tuition for this year by 3.6 percent, which was the same as the Higher Education Price Index, an inflation rate specific to colleges and universities, Mitchell said. "We've been good soldiers about this stuff."

The larger increase for next year is needed to compensate for dramatic cuts in state funding, she said. The state cut about $5 million from the school's budget in the past two years. And, Mitchell added, the college would have to raise tuition 25 percent to fully compensate for those cuts.

The Citadel president, Lt. Gen. John Rosa, said the college is keeping the increase as low as possible to avoid heaping the burden on the backs of parents.

Board Chairman Doug Snyder said he also wants to minimize the financial burden on parents, "but there's a point at which we have to survive," he said.

Mitchell estimated that the $8.9 million state appropriation for the 2011 fiscal year would make up only 10.6 percent of The Citadel's budget.

She also said the school could increase tuition at The Citadel Graduate College from $400 to $488 per credit.

And financial challenges for the current school year continue, Mitchell said.

The college could lose about an additional $150,000 from this year's budget, which runs through June 30, to compensate for a state accounting error. The Citadel likely would cover the cut with money from the federal stimulus program, she said.

The $120 million error, discovered this week, means state agencies' budgets likely will be cut by $60 million this year and another $60 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, state officials have said.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or dknich@postandcourier.com.