COLUMBIA — South Carolina students will pay $5,424 a semester to attend Clemson University next year, $234 more than this year.
The Board of Trustees voted 11-2 Thursday to raise the tuition to offset a $45.7 million shortfall in state money and in losses in the school's endowment. The bulk of the cut, $30 million, will be absorbed by cost-cutting measures, including the elimination of 452 positions.
Out-of-state students will pay $878 more a semester, with tuition at $12,579.
Senior Abby Daniel said students will be glad to learn that the tuition didn't increase more. Everyone on campus was expecting to pay more next year because of the bad economy, she said.
"I don't anticipate many at all that will be in such dire straits that they can't return," Daniel said. "I think the in-state tuition increase is so modest that people will be able to pick that up. I think it's remarkable, the number they kept it to for students, considering the circumstances. And also ensuring our academic quality at the same time was fantastic."
Daniel is undergraduate student body president and a biological sciences major from Irmo.
Trustee Bob Peeler of Lexington, former lieutenant governor, voted against the tuition increase. He did so even though he said the administration worked hard to identify cuts, save money and be efficient. Trustee Nicky McCarter of Columbia also voted against the increase.
"These are extraordinary times for families in South Carolina, and I think it was too much right now," Peeler said.
Board Chairman Bill Hendrix Jr. of Kiawah Island said that without the cost-cutting measures and federal stimulus money, the tuition increase would have been 26 percent. As it is, the increase is 4.5 percent for undergraduate in-state students and 7.5 percent for out-of-state undergrads. The increase for graduate students will run between 3 and 3.5 percent, depending on their residency and program.
The tuition increase is higher than the University of South Carolina's 3.6 percent increase for in-state undergraduates and substantially lower than the College of Charleston's 7 percent increase.
Many of the positions being eliminated at Clemson were vacant because of a hiring freeze that has been in place since last year. Others were temporary positions or were held by people who plan to retire.
"I am confident that we have approved a responsible, prudent and strategic plan today that addresses our current funding crisis," Hendrix said at the meeting. "It protects academic quality, minimizes the impact on students and builds a foundation for our long-term recovery."
Hendrix noted that scholarships and grants bring actual out-of-pocket academic costs to a much lower level. The average cost for in-state freshmen in 2008 was $1,406 per semester and $2,737 for seniors. Those costs, on average, are lower than in 2005.