AU Trustees approve tuition, fee hike

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Auburn University trustees approved increasing the school's tuition and athletic fees Friday, a move that will cost most students an extra $410 a year.

Trustees approved a 2 percent tuition increase that would hike in-state tuition from $5,278 to $5,496 in 2006-2007. Non-Alabama undergraduates would pay $15,496 next year, up from $14,878. The increase would help pay for building maintenance.

They also approved a large athletic fee increase, raising it from $36 to $192 per year. It was the first athletic fee increase since 1990.

A 2 percent tuition increase also was approved for Auburn University Montgomery, with in-state undergraduates paying $4,500, up from $4,410 this year. Nonresident undergraduates will pay $13,500, up from $13,230.

The changes were approved with one unanimous voice vote, said David Granger, a university spokesman.

"From the administrative side, we always try to keep any tuition increase to a minimum," Granger said. "The board is committed to keeping the cost of attending Auburn reasonable."

The athletic fee increase could be used to help pay for a new basketball arena at the university, but Granger said a final decision hasn't been made.

"They're still sort of in the exploratory stage," he said.

Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum is 35 years old and underwent a $10 million renovation in 1997. Auburn officials have mentioned spending six or seven times that amount on a new fan-friendly arena seating about 9,000.

The athletic fee made up 4.2 percent of the athletic department budget in 1990, but dropped to only 1.8 percent of the budget prior to Friday's increase.

Auburn Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs sought the increase.

"The recent recognition of Auburn University for its outstanding academic success of our football student-athletes is a testament that these have been funds well spent," Jacobs wrote in a memo to Auburn Interim President Ed Richardson.

Jacobs recognized the impact of increases on students.

"The Department of Athletics has refrained from requesting any increases in student fees since tuition and fees are a significant burden on our students," he wrote.