Officials: credit hour production vital for tuition revenue at UNA

A common misconception is an increase in enrollment leads to an increase in revenue. However, this is not the case.

Credit hour production, the number of classes or credits the enrolled students take each semester, is the real driver of revenue, not headcount, said Director of Institutional Research, Planning and Development Andrew Luna.

“CHP is more important on a budget perspective because CHP is how much revenue an institution is bringing in,” he said.

Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Clinton Carter said the university is doing well in the areas of CHP and enrollment.

“We’re up essentially 3 percent in headcount and about 6 percent in credit hours,” Carter said.

Although enrollment could be high at a university, not every student could be taking the full load of 12-15 hours. This could result in a drop in CHP, Luna said.

“Taking only nine hours for the semester is very convenient for me,” said sophomore Reid Sherrod. “The option helps me balance working for paying my bills — which includes tuition — while earning my degree at the same time.”

Luna said if every student decided to go part-time, the university would see a drop in revenue from tuition.

“If you have more students coming in taking less credit hours, that is less revenue than you would have to administer the same services to a greater number of students,” he said. “The tuition students pay goes into the education and general funding, which helps fund Information Technology Services, Health Services, Counseling, Student Affairs and more.”

Currently, the CHP is up more than the enrollment. The recent increased percentage in CHP comes in “no small part” from the increased number of freshmen on campus, Luna said.

“The freshman class is up 24 percent,” he said. “Almost a 300-student increase in usual number of students living on campus.”

About 25 percent of university revenue comes from the state, about 50 percent from tuition and another estimated 25 percent through other means, Carter said.

“Because the college has to increase tuition to meet budget, other students and I are in so much student loan debt,” said junior Danielle Richey.

As state dollars decline, the university has to make it up through higher tuition, meal plans, room and board or other means, Carter said.

“It’s really pathetic that the state has high expectations for our generation, yet force us to go millions in debt to reach those expectations, with a possibility of still not reaching it,” said junior Brittany Michael.