Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mercer Trustees Approve Record Operating Budget, New Degree Programs

Mercer University’s Board of Trustees recently approved a $181.3 million operating budget for next year, a $9.4 million, or 5.5 percent, increase over the current budget. Tuition for Mercer’s undergraduate programs will increase by 2.9 percent, the smallest tuition increase at Mercer in at least 15 years. Last year’s increase for Macon undergraduate programs was 6.5 percent, compared with 6.8 percent in 2007 and 7 percent in 2006. Some graduate and professional programs will not see any increase in tuition next year, while others will go up 2.9 to 6.9 percent.

“In preparing next year’s budget, we sought to hold our tuition increases to a minimum in recognition of the current economic climate, while also ensuring that the University maintains progress toward meeting the goals in the 10-year plan that was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2008,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “We have been fortunate in that we continue to experience record-setting enrollments – particularly in our graduate and professional programs – and the University is enjoying very strong momentum in the midst of a challenging environment.”

The board also approved several new undergraduate and graduate degrees programs. The College of Continuing and Professional Studies will add an undergraduate major in human resources administration and development for students in Mercer’s Regional Academic Centers. The School of Engineering is adding two new master’s programs – a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Science in Environmental Systems. A new Master of Arts in Christian Ministry will be offered by the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology.

New certificate programs that were approved include career development in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, and minority health and health disparities, and rural health, both in the School of Medicine.

The board adopted a resolution commending a Walter F. George School of Law mock trial team that took top honors at this month’s American Bar Association National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition. The Mercer Law School team defeated Harvard and the University of Houston law schools in the semi-final and final rounds, respectively. The elite invitation-only competition included 20 law schools from across the nation.

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