ATLANTA – Mercer University's Board of Trustees, meeting today on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta, approved a record $237.1 million operating budget for 2015-16 and approved three new academic programs in the College of Liberal Arts.
The $237,129,679 operating budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, represents an $8,077,726, or 3.5 percent, increase over the current budget. For the third consecutive year, trustees voted to limit the tuition increase for Mercer's undergraduate programs to 2 percent. President William D. Underwood noted that the University's disciplined approach to holding down costs for students and their families, coupled with the national achievements of its students, has contributed to recognition by U.S. News & World Report and other college guidebooks of Mercer's great value.
For the third consecutive year, students in the Walter F. George School of Law will see no tuition increase, and for the fourth consecutive year, Doctor of Medicine students in the School of Medicine will see no increase in tuition. Students in Mercer's Georgia Baptist College of Nursing will also have no increase in tuition next year. Most other graduate programs will see increases of 2 percent or less.
The board authorized a new Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the College of Liberal Arts. The BFA degree will augment the current art major that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree by providing more in-depth study of the arts and preparing students for today's increasingly complex visual culture. Trustees also approved a new interdisciplinary neuroscience major that will be offered through the psychology and biology departments and a new interdisciplinary major in criminal justice that will draw from psychology, sociology, political science, philosophy, Christianity and Africana studies.
In other action, the Board authorized an expansion of the Fresh Food Company in the Connell Student Center. The expansion, which is expected to be completed by the fall 2015 semester, will increase food service capacity and add 300 seats to accommodate the growing undergraduate student body on the Macon campus. The addition to the building will serve as an intermediate solution to the increased enrollment until Connell's long-term future can be determined.