Increased student fees, tuition proposed for FY 2024
By: Gabriel Donahue, News Editor
A $344 increase in mandatory yearly fees and overall tuition increase for full-time undergraduate Towson University students was proposed last Monday during the Student Fee Forum hosted by the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Government Association.
Full-time, in-state undergraduates currently pay $3,580 in fees per year. The proposed increases would raise that figure to an annual $3,924.
Tuition rates for full-time undergraduates would increase by 1.98% for in-state students and 5% for out-of-state students in the 2024 Fiscal Year.
The proposed increases follow a five-year trend wherein fees have gone up since FY19, as shown in the presentation from the forum. This is except for FY21 when fees were frozen at a 0% increase due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Part-time undergraduate and graduate students would see an increase of $16 per credit hour.
“How do we calculate the fees,” Ben Lowenthal, Towson’s chief fiscal officer, asked during the forum. “Essentially, we’re just trying to balance the budget.”
Tuition and Fee breakdown
Tuition for both in- and out-of-state students is expected to increase gradually through fall 2026.
Currently, an in-state, full-time student pays $5,409 in tuition and fees, according to university data. Out-of-state students pay $13,410.
The fees will cover operations such as a $1,079 per term auxiliary services fee, which includes student activities, Greek life and OneCard services. There is also a $544 per term athletics fee funding scholarships for student-athletes and athletic programs.
Full-time students also pay $116 per term technology fee for upgrades to on-campus tech. The Student Government Association charges a $51 per term fee.
Room and board rates for all housing options are also expected to increase by 5%, according to Kelly Hoover, the assistant vice president for Housing and Residence Life. Housing prices will increase between $312 and $556, depending on the building and room style.
Parking rates will increase by 5%, but the tiered structure will remain, Vice President of Operations Steve Jones said.
In FY23, parking costs became dependent on classifications such as residential students, who pay the most at $480. Alternatively, commuter students pay $403, and evening students pay $182.
Passes for West Village Garage and the stadium parking lot cost comparatively less as well at $192 annually. Jones said this new structure was well-received and will continue.
Dining fees have not yet been determined because the dining services contract with Towson’s vendor is being renewed in July, Vice President of Student Affairs Vernon Hurte said.
At the forum, Senior Richard Soucy said it is difficult for students to find food outside of the dining halls for less than a meal swipe.
The meal swipe cash allowance is $6.72. Most meals at on-campus eateries will cost more than the cash allowance, thus requiring students to use more than one meal swipe, extra dining points or cash to pay for a meal.
“[The cost of food] shouldn’t be viewed as a way for the campus to make a large profit off of because it’s a public need that students can’t really go off campus [for],” Soucy said. “There’s no real sense of competition.”
A wellness fee of $25 per semester is being considered, which would generate $844,000 to help increase health and wellness staffing and to fund web-based wellness training for staff.
Hurte said Towson only has three case managers. During the height of the pandemic, there was only one. The Higher Education Case Managers Association recommends five case managers for schools of Towson’s size, which was 19,793 for the fall semester.
“When we compare ourselves to other campuses, we have not been able to really invest in the type of non-clinical resources to help students who are in deep crisis situations or just really need some additional supports to make those connections to key resources across campus,” Hurte said.
He said TU will review feedback from the forum and SGA to revise the proposals. They will send the proposed rates to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, who will approve or deny them.
“We calculate the fee to cover the expenses,” Lowenthal said. “Actually, […] we’re not even covering all expenses. We’re committed to finding other sources of revenue to fill the deficit.”
Some students are not happy about the proposed increases.
Senior Cyan Jackson said that despite the consistently increasing cost, she isn’t seeing the money being used to fix problems on campus.
“I’ve definitely had this conversation before, where I’m like, ‘why are they increasing the tuition?’ and everything’s the same,” she said. “It’s been the same since freshman year.”
Cameron Mance, another senior, thinks attendance costs are getting too expensive, especially when needing a parking pass. She referred to having to pay full tuition for online classes during the pandemic despite not being on campus.
Mance also said she would like to see the money generated from the greater tuition and fees costs reach more students.
“It would be beneficial for Towson to stop renovating buildings and stop building buildings and focus on the problems that they already have now so that there can be a safer environment for students and that other departments besides the athletes and the STEM majors can get some funding for their education,” she said.