Seniors graduate, see college costs soar

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 21, 2002

You’ve gone to prom, sent out the graduation invitations, have your cap and gown, and are ready to march across the stage to get your high school diploma. It’s an exciting time for all high school seniors – a time to reflect over the last four years and look forward to new beginnings as a college freshmen.

The decision to go off to college, stay at home and attend a local college, attend a two-year or four-year institution can be overwhelming to many parents and students. It’s one of the most important decisions parents and seniors can make in their lives. Whether it be a small school atmosphere or a major university, economics is a key factor in choosing the right school that fits your needs.

In an effort to make things a little easier for those undecided, The Times-Journal has listed the cost of tuition for two major universities in Alabama and three local colleges. The schools may not be your first choice, but it may bring some light to issues concerning college.

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The three local colleges and universities in Selma are Wallace Community College of Selma, Concordia College and Selma University. Wallace is an accredited two-year college that is funded by the state of Alabama. It offers associate degrees in a number of concentrations, including nursing, technical programs and general studies. Tuition for a full-time student taking 9 to 12 hours of course work is $816 per semester. That does not cover the cost of books or other fees. Wallace does not have dormitories. Fall classes begin August 19.

Concordia College is a private four-year Lutheran college. Students can earn bachelor degrees in education, business, liberal arts and other fields of study. Concordia, once a two-year college, became accredited as a four-year college in 1994. It is a fully accredited college.

Tuition for a full-time Concordia student for 2002-2003 school year is $3,000 per semester. The school has dormitories on campus, with board and room cost averaging $1,600 per semester.

Dr. Julius Jenkins said student enrollment has increased in the past two years from 496 students to 825 students. He attributes the growth to the honors program that allows students who scored high on their SATs and ACTs to forego tuition and get a monthly stipend of $150. The other program Jenkins attributes to the school’s increased enrollment is the institution grant available to commuting students.

“Students who commute to Concordia will not have to pay tuition or any out-of-pocket expenses. We give every commuting student an institutional grant even if they do not qualify for a Pell Grant or honors program,” Jenkins said.

Selma University is another private four-year college that offers bachelor degrees in ministry, general studies with an emphasis in biology and physical education or an emphasis in business. Tuition for a full-time resident and non-resident student is $3,000 per semester.

Dr. Alvin Cleveland, president of Selma University said that historically, the university is known for its ministry program, but he stressed that the school has other programs for those who are not interested in ministry.

Selma University is currently working toward candidate status for full accreditation. Cleveland said it takes five years for a college or university to get accreditation, but the school intends to get full accreditation within four years.

For those who want to move away and experience college life on a larger campus, the University of Alabama and Auburn University could be up your alley.

Tuition for a full-time Alabama resident at the University of Alabama is estimated at $1,800 per semester. Tuition for a non-resident is $4,875 per semester. Books and supplies are estimated at $350. Residential hall rooms are estimated at $1,239 for resident and non-resident students. The school has a meal plan that costs $778 per semester or students can choose the Dining Dollars Account that costs $225 per semester.

Auburn University’s estimated tuition and fees for 2002-2003 semester is a little less than UA’s, totaling $1,763 for Alabama residents. Tuition for non-resident students is $5,023 per semester.

Cost of books is estimated at $450 per semester. Unlike UA, Auburn does not have a meal plan. Auburn University officials say students can use their Tiger Club Card (student ID) to make purchases.