The Medical University of South Carolina's Board of Trustees on Tuesday discussed a slight tuition hike and heard of a budget victory for rural health initiatives to the tune of $5 million.
Tuition will go up on a weighted average of 1.55 percent across MUSC's schools, bringing the organization an additional $2,829,836. The increase was approved at an April board meeting. Last year's increase was a slightly lower 1.21 percent.
The biggest hike will be felt by College of Pharmacy students, who will see a 3 percent increase during the year. The college stopped charging for summer tuition; students in that college will not ultimately pay more for a full year. Tuition for medical students will go down by roughly 2 percent, however.
For instance, the cost for third-year in-state students to attend in the upcoming academic year will be a reduced amount of $17,240, compared to $21,127 the year prior. Out-of-state tuition for third-years decreased from $34,990 to $28,552.
In his presentation to the board, MUSC's Chief Financial Officer Patrick Wamsley called the uptick in tuition "rather modest."
Meanwhile, the University of South Carolina's Board of Trustees approved their own tuition hike Wednesday.
In-state medical students at that university got a 3 percent increase. Their tuition is now $21,342. The price is $43,875 for non-resident medical students.
Increases in tuition, USC's largest source of funding, will fund a number of improvements there, a press release explained.
The General Assembly's approved budget gave USC an additional $8.2 million in new funds, reversing "stagnant funding," the release stated.
MUSC, for its part, won $5 million in addition to the money it gets every year to fund what the system calls "health innovation" efforts.
The university's lobbyist, Mark Sweatman, reported the negotiated increase to the board — and got a round of applause. The state's total budget for its public hospital system will be about $75 million this fiscal year, up by 7.5 percent from last year. The new funds will pay for programs including a mobile unit that will provide cancer screenings, a collaboration on public health with Clemson and USC and responses to the opioid epidemic.
MUSC's Health Innovation Institute researches ways to improve affordability, availability and quality of health care for the state's most vulnerable populations.
Editor's note: This article was updated to explain why the MUSC College of Pharmacy's tuition increased.