Students will pay an estimated $256 increase in student fees next year, following an October LSU Board of Supervisors action to hike fees at the flagship campus by 2.6 percent of total tuition and fees. The increased fee is a “student excellence fee” of $128 per semester and will go into effect in the spring.
The move comes after the Louisiana state Legislature granted higher education boards fee autonomy during the most recent legislative session, allowing LSU supervisors to increase fees for students based on the differences in funding between the university and its national peers.
Five percent of the revenue generated from the increased fees must go to need-based student financial aid, but it is not eligible for students’ TOPS scholarships.
In-state undergraduate students taking 15 hours at LSU pay $1,078 in fees and about $3,800 in tuition per semester, according to an Office of Budget and Planning report.
After the fee increase, students will pay around $1,212 per semester, bringing the yearly total to around $2,424.
Students at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center will pay $220 more, and students at the School of Veterinary Medicine will pay $246 more in yearly fees.
The board’s fiscal impact report forecasts a net revenue of $6.6 million from fees at the Baton Rouge campus.
TOPS does not pay for students’ fees, said Executive Director of the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance Sujuan Boutte.
Increases in costs other than tuition means students who receive TOPS will have to pay more than they initially bargained for, Boutte said. While TOPS keeps pace with tuition, it is not keeping up with fee increases.
“It increases the students’ cost of attendance,” Boutte said. “That is gonna either be covered by other need-based aid, other institutional aid that student has, working or ... the student would have to take out loans to be able to cover those increases within the limits that they have.”
To put increased fees in perspective, Boutte said the average cost of attendance is nearly $30,000 per year, which makes fees about 8 percent of the total cost of attendance.
TOPS covers $7,110 in tuition, leaving TOPS students with a gap of about $22,000 per year, which must be paid by loans, working or mitigating costs, she said.