Posted by Philip Poole on 2007-03-06

Samford University's board of trustees has approved tuition and fee rates for the 2007-08 academic year. The new rates are effective with the fall 2007 semester for undergraduates.

Tuition for full-time undergraduate students will be $8,960 per semester, an increase of $960 or 12 percent. An increase of 6.5 percent to $13,946 per semester was approved for Samford's Cumberland School of Law. Tuition will increase 5 percent to $11,697 per semester for Samford's McWhorter School of Pharmacy. Tuition for Samford's Metro Programs will increase 4 percent to $289 per credit hour.

"Samford makes every effort to keep the university affordable for our constituents," Clayton Fogg, Samford's budget officer said. "At the same time, we must ensure that Samford continues to provide the quality academic programs that our students and other constituents deserve and have come to expect. Samford provides a low student/faculty ratio, a high percentage of small class sizes, and attracts and retains an outstanding faculty. That does not come without costs."

Samford's total cost still is about 33 percent below the national average for private universities, Fogg noted.

Of the top 10 peer universities in the South in the 2007 U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings, Samford had the second-lowest maximum tuition. Only the state-supported University of Mary Washington in Virginia was less than $40 lower. Samford's tuition was from $2,000 to $14,000 below the privately-funded top-ranked institutions.

Several years of modest tuition increases when the university had significant increases in employee benefit costs and utilities created the need to adjust fee structures to balance the budget. Most constituents do not realize that it costs more than $300,000 per day to operate the university, Fogg noted. For instance, Samford spent more than $3.6 million for utilities last year, and that cost is expected to increase nearly $1 million in 2007-08 because of rate increases and the addition of more than 400,000-square-feet of space to the campus.

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland noted that the university is developing initiatives to bolster its academic programs, including additional staffing, scholarships and program support. Samford also is preparing to launch new initiatives that will help the university continue to attract top students and build on the university's selective reputation.

Westmoreland said the university also is reviewing long-range plans that include additional faculty in several program areas to help maintain the university's low student to faculty ratio.

A new fitness/wellness center will open in fall 2007 and be available for student use at no additional fee. The university also anticipates adding about 25% to the Student Government Association's program budget next year. And, the university is committed to advancing campus technology in the immediate future, Fogg added.

Room and board fees will increase 4 percent with actual costs varying according to the residence facility and the board plan.

The university is investing about $200,000 in "substantial improvements" to meal selections and dining facilities for the 2007-08 academic year, university officials said. Students with meal plans will receive an additional $30 per semester for fall and spring on their declining balances.

The university still must seek additional revenue sources to meet budget demands, according to Michael D. Morgan, vice president for university relations. The university continues to receive about $5 million annually – or 3 percent of its revenue budget – from Alabama Baptists. More than $10 million in additional gifts are also expected from alumni, parents, foundations and other donors.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.