Washington State University President Elson Floyd said summer tuition may be reduced by 16 percent next year.
“What we’re trying to do is figure out more ways to get more students to participate in our summer session,” Floyd said in an interview last week. “Cost may be one of the issues associated with it.”
If a 16 percent reduction is approved by the Board of Regents, next year’s summer tuition for traditional, in-state students will cost about $414 a credit. It is currently $494 a credit.
During the regular school year, a similar student will pay about $380 a credit next fall, up from about $326 this spring after tuition increases take effect.
Summer tuition will be exempt from the 16 percent tuition increase for the 2012-’13 academic year.
The school has to charge more during the summer, when there are fewer students, to break even, school officials said.
Summer enrollment is currently 4,633, down 6 percent from last year, said Darin Watkins, WSU executive director of external communications. The university had more than 19,000 students on the Pullman campus during the school year.
City leaders and local businesses have voiced their support for the decrease in summer tuition.
“You can always tell when students aren’t around here and the majority has left,” Mayor Glenn Johnson said.
The decrease in students during the summer can leave local businesses struggling to make ends meet.
Mike Wagoner, owner of Zoe’s Underground coffee shop, said the business loses about 85 percent of its traffic during the summer.
“You have to kind of keep that in mind when you’re doing your budget and everything,” Wagoner said. “I wish there were more people in the summer. Pullman’s an awesome place in the summertime.”
Wagoner said he believes the decrease in tuition may encourage students to attend summer classes.
Pullman City Councilman Derrick Skaug, who is also the vice president of WSU’s student government, met with Floyd and chief budget officials in February to discuss reducing summer tuition.
“I thought it would be very beneficial to the city and serve students, basically giving students the view of Pullman as their home year-round,” Skaug said.
Senior communication major Nico Tileston said the drop in summer tuition will benefit everyone, including students. This is Tileston’s first summer in Pullman, and he is paying for tuition without the help of financial aid.
“I think it’ll definitely encourage working students (to take summer classes),” he said. “It’ll be great for Pullman in general, too. The businesses will have better likelihood at succeeding.”
Floyd said the proposal is almost complete and must now go before the Board of Regents. He said he is confident the board will approve the reduction. The Regents are expected to vote on the proposal early next spring.