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Schools consider tuition changes

More of Kentucky's regional universities could move toward charging students per credit hour instead of a flat tuition rate starting in the 2010-2011 academic year.

Robert L. King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, said officials from Northern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University and Murray State University have expressed interest in shifting to a per-credit model.

Currently, Morehead State University and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System are the only schools that charge per credit. Morehead's tuition will increase $9 per credit hour next year to $234 for in-state students.

Other colleges making the switch would provide a financial break for full-time students who can't take a packed course schedule.

But it wouldn't mean that the universities that implement it would be charging the same rates, King said.

King said a per-credit-hour tuition rate wouldn't necessarily discourage ambitious students from taking a five or more classes during a semester, because colleges will probably provide a bulk discount for credits

Students who take more than 12 credit hours in a semester at Morehead, for instance, have those additional credits discounted by 80 percent. That will change to a 70 percent discount in the 2009-2010 academic year, according to the new tuition rates the postsecondary council approved Friday.

College officials will have to agree on a uniform credit threshold if more universities make the switch to the per-credit rates, King said

Other colleges use 15 or 16 as the full-time student threshold, King said.

The Council on Postsecondary Education, which met in Murray on Friday, officially approved tuition increases for each of the eight public universities and KCTCS.

Rates at KCTCS will go up $4 per credit hour, or 3.3 percent, to $125.

This spring, the council capped regional universities at 4 percent increases next year and the two research universities — the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville — at 5 percent increases.

In-state tuition for UK will rise $393 to $8,241 for the year, while Eastern Kentucky University's will increase 3.8 percent to $6,312. Kentucky State University's rate will go up 4 percent to $5,920.