CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Students at Coastal Carolina University are starting the school year with a new tuition rate.
Tuition went up 3 percent. That equates to in-state students now paying an extra $162 per semester, while out-of-state students will pay an additional $376.
CCU's in-state tuition of $11,200 for an academic year is below the state average of $11,892.
These increases, coupled with the projected 3 percent increase in enrollment, is expected to yield an additional $2.7 million in undergraduate tuition revenues over the previous year's budget.
The last previous tuition increase was 3.3 percent during the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The average annual increase during the last seven years was 2.6 percent.
For fiscal years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, no tuition increases were instituted for in-state undergraduates.
In remarks to the board on May 5, 2017, outgoing chairman D. Wyatt Henderson said that tuition costs were "a primary consideration in every decision" made by the board during his tenure as chair.
"In 2011, tuition, fees, housing and meals for a full time, in-state student cost $17,500," Henderson said. "If you factor in inflation over the last six years, in today's dollars it would have cost $21,300 to attend CCU in 2011. In 2017, tuition, fees, housing and meals for a full-time, in-state student cost $19,800. So it actually cost $1,500 less per year to attend CCU now than it did in 2011. A remarkable achievement. This board is to be commended for not only holding down the cost of higher education, but actually reducing it."
Students say school leaders are always looking for new ways for CCU to grow, whether it's with sports, more campus events or new amenities.
"They've been in construction continuously. I think this school is going to be huge by like 2030. This school is going to be close to twice the size it is now, so I don't think it's going to make any difference if they raise tuition," CCU sophomore Trey Carter said.
Everyone at CCU has a different opinion on the rising tuition fees and how it will impact them.
Some students say they're anxious to start this new chapter, but can't shake the thought of thousands of dollars in debt they'll be in right after graduation.
A lot of students said they're already struggling and this just forces them to take out more loans and find other ways to finance their education.
One student, who pays close to $7,000 a year to attend CCU, said paying more won't keep him from getting his degree.
It comes as no surprise to new students who are paying tuition for the first time at CCU. For most of them, borrowing money for higher education is inevitable.
Approximately 10,350 students have registered for the new 2017-2018 school year.
Officials say, come October, they'll know the exact number of students who enrolled this year with the new tuition rate compared to last year.
CCU's board of trustees votes each May on whether tuition should increase for the following year.
A previous version of this story erroneously reported that the tuition hike was 3.9 percent, when it fact it is only 3 percent. It also reported that it would cover an increase in employee salaries. That information was also incorrect. The tuition increase was largely due to an increase in funding in the state's pension, health and dental insurance the state legislature recently passed. WMBF News regrets this error.