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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Henderson State University is shown in this 2019 file photo. - Photo by Emily Walkenhorst

Henderson State University will increase tuition across the board next fall, going against the tide of schools maintaining the same tuition rates during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Arkadelphia university has spent more than a year determining whether it can make payroll. Like most other schools, it is projecting a decrease in enrollment next year, and thus a decrease in tuition revenue.

On Thursday, trustees approved raising tuition from $231 to $240 per credit hour for in-state undergraduate students — a 3.9% increase that amounts to $270 more per year for a student who takes two 15-credit hour semesters.

The increases wil be far higher for other categories of students: an 11.1% increase for out-of-state undergraduates to $320 per credit hour, or $960 more annually; a 10.3% increase for in-state graduate students to $310 per credit hour, or $696 more annually; and an 18% raise in tuition for out-of-state graduate students to $414 per credit hour, or $1,512 more annually.

"We were what I felt was really low on our out-of-state graduate" tuition compared to other schools, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rita Fleming told trustees.

The new tuition rates are part of a $67.6 million budget approved for next year, down from the $68.7 million budget approved for the previous year and even less than the $73.9 million actually spent this fiscal year, which ends Tuesday. Total revenue for this fiscal year is expected to be $74 million, followed by revenue of $67.6 million for the next fiscal year.

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