THIBODAUX – Implementation of the Louisiana GRAD Act will result in higher tuition for state colleges and universities, but administrators at Nicholls State University say the rate hikes won’t affect the Pelican State’s standing as the southern United States’ best bargain for public higher education.
The legislation will allow each public college and university to conditionally raise tuition rates 10 percent per year until the rates reach the southern average. Annual standards in retention rates, graduation rates and total number of graduates must be met for the yearly increase to continue.
“Tuition in Louisiana is currently at about 68 percent of the southern regional average – the lowest in the southern states,” Larry Howell, special assistant to the president at Nicholls, said. “Obviously the tuition increase will impact our students in these difficult economic times, but it is a reality given the reduced state funding to public higher education in Louisiana and the rest of the country. In the end, our tuition is still the best bargain in the south – and it will remain a bargain for years to come.”
Howell said more than half of the 10-percent increase will be used to cover unfunded state-mandated costs, including insurance and retirement.