Expanding Differential Tuition in CALS and LAS

Annelise Wells

In 2011, two CALS majors, Agricultural Systems Technology and Industrial Technology, paid differential tuition. In 2017, the number of majors was expanded to eight. The programs added include animal ecology, animal science, biology, dairy science, forestry, general pre vet medicine, genetics, and microbiology.

For the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, this is the first year that any major is being affected by differential tuition. The majors affected are biology, BPMI/pre-BPMI, computer science, and genetics.

In both of the colleges, the tuition is being phased in over a span of three years. This academic year, junior and senior level students will be paying $267 more than base tuition each semester, $533 in 2018-2019, and $800 in 2019-2020. 

“I hope this helps students and parents to plan ahead,” said Dr. Beermann, Animal Science department chair. “That was the whole intent in having phased in approach.”

The differential tuition will effect junior and senior level students after 60 credit hours have been reached. At those higher levels, the cost of instruction is greater, faculty and student relationship tends to be closer and students take a lot more lab and interactive courses, said Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Specifically deciding where this money goes is a partnership between the administration, faculty and students.

“That’s a model that engineering uses, that business uses,” Schmittmann said. “So the students have some understanding of how much additional revenue is coming in…and how much can be new investment” 

Ava Schroedl is a junior in BPMI and a member of the BPMI Student Advisory Committee. “I think the main student opinion is where did this come from and why is it happening,”

There has already been a current and planned usage for the money in a multitude of programs. In Animal Science, they have used the differential tuition towards hiring much needed faculty members and upgrading teaching facilities.

“These are the kind of things that are really getting us up to where we should be,” Dr. Beermann said. “You can’t do it with outdated equipment and facilities.”

Joe Coletti, interim dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, seconds the importance that differential tuition plays in the interactive side of learning. 

“The hands on experience learning aspect is really what’s enhanced by the differential tuition. “said Coletti.

“We do want to reinvest in them and make sure the upper level students who are paying it actually get what they really want and need of it.” Dr. Clark, director of the BPMI program.

Looking ahead, Schroedl, expresses her concerns about where the money goes. 

“Just that the money stays within the program, also that students are still able to participate no matter what their family background is,” said Schroedl.

Looking ahead, this is still the first phase for a lot of these programs. But Dean Schmittmann says there’s talk of including the more STEM departments within LAS in the differential Tuition program.