Another tuition hike forcing tough decisions for Marshall students and parents

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Tuition is going up for two schools in our area.

West Virginia University announced Friday it is increasing tuition by almost 1.4 percent for students. This comes after Marshall University announced an increase Wednesday. Click here to see that story.

But the cumulative effect means Marshall seniors this fall will be paying almost 18 percent more than when they were freshmen.

Some tell us this latest increase could force them to take loans for the first time.

The increase this time around is 3.5 percent.

"Not the happiest," said junior Tyson Childers.

“I’m a little nervous about the tuition increase,” said freshman Anissa Hardesty.

Hardesty chose Marshall and a degree in biology over Ohio State and her preferred zoology degree in part because of the price.

"It was a pretty easy choice to make so I wouldn't have to take out any loans," she said.

But now she worries that could be doubt if things keep rising as fast as they have for this year's junior class, a combined 17.6 percent between freshman and senior years.

"I worry about taking out loans because as somebody going into a field like zoology that doesn't pay a whole lot anyway," Hardesty said.

"All of it comes down to price," Childers added.

Childers would know. He works two jobs, including as a tour guide for high school students. The price his parents will pay is fixed so "there's a chance I will have to take out loans for my senior year because we're at that line this year."

He and others like junior Jeremiah Parlock worry the biggest draw to Marshall, a quality education at an affordable price, is slowly going away with every increase, especially as the university looks to increase enrollment.

"That's scary for me to know that Marshall's future is at stake, how many students will want to come here if our tuition keeps going up at this rate?" Parlock said.

Some would like to see tuition frozen as a freshman all the way through their college years.

Others said Marshall should make more funding cuts, perhaps to the athletics program or for some non-vital spending like new signs.

Officials blame inflation for this year's hike.

But students like Hardesty don't like that reasoning.

"Promise (scholarship) doesn't go up with inflation. I don't think that tuition should go up with inflation,” she said.

The tuition increase goes into effect for the fall semester.

Meanwhile, WVU said this latest hike is the smallest increase in more than two decades.

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