|Source: Thomas R Machnitzki|
Tuition and housing costs will increase at the University of Memphis this fall to help pay for salary increases for faculty and staff.
President David Rudd will also receive a raise, but the increase will be funded entirely by private dollars.
In its second full day of meetings as a Board of Trustees, the board approved the increases along with its nearly $500 million 2017-18 budget, and also committed to establishing a parental leave policy.
Tuition will increase 2.6 percent, well under the 4 percent permitted by the state.Mandatory fees are not increasing, so the overall increase in what a student has to pay is about 2.1 percent.
An undergraduate student taking 15 credit hours would pay a total of $9,701 in tuition and mandatory fees, an increase of $204. The increase will generate just under $4 million for the university.
"A big part of our success is managing the tuition dollars well, and I would argue not leaving too much of the burden on students," Rudd said in a committee meeting before the final vote.
While tuition is climbing, the rate of increase has slowed in recent years.Including next year, the university will have increased tuition an average of 2.1 percent each year over a four-year period.The average for the last 15 years was an 8 percent increase.
Housing rates will also increase 5 percent, increasing costs for traditional on-campus housing by $136 a semester or $177 for university apartments.Cancelling a housing contract would also costs students $300 more.
The state allocated funding for 3 percent raises for faculty and staff, with the university responsible for $2 million of the $5.4 million cost of the raises.
Tenured and tenured-track faculty will receive a combination of across-the-board and merit raises, with all other full-time faculty and staff receiving the across-the-board increases.
Law professor Kate Schaffzin, the faculty member of the board, said the decision on how to break down may be "seemingly mundane," but was of "great importance" to faculty.The university has not issued merit raises for eight years, she said.
"The lack of commitment to regular salary and merit increases has resulted in a situation where many faculty are paid well below market value," Schaffzin said.
Rudd committed to allocating up to an extra $100,000 for merit-based allocations this year, and a more consistent pay system to follow in future years.
Rudd, who is paid $382,597 and receives an extra $34,000 in housing, car and expense allowances, will also receive a raise, but through private donations to the university.
Brad Martin, a board member and former interim president of the university, said the money is aimed at retaining Rudd as president.
Rudd would receive a $50,000 salary increase and would be eligible for $100,000 in performance bonuses tied to an evaluation by the board.An additional $100,000 a year would be put into a retirement account Rudd could only access if he serves an additional five years.
"This does not cost a dime in terms of any public funding," Martin said.
As a faculty member, Schaffzin gave her approval for Rudd's increase.
"I think in light of this board’s commitment to study faculty salaries, I’m fully in support of this motion," she said.
Rudd also proposed a formal parental leave policy, noting he was surprised to learn the university didn't already have one.He said he could have it ready by the fall, and when approved, it would take effect immediately.
"The only debate is around the financial model for the policy," Rudd said.