The Troy University Board of Trustees discussed plans and projects for the new year in its meeting on Friday, Dec. 11.
There were 7,479 students on Troy’s main campus this semester, an all-time high according to John Dew, senior vice chancellor of student services.
“Parking this fall was a challenge, but we made it through,” Dew said, noting a problem that comes with this high enrollment.
There were also a record number of 370 sorority pledges. According to Dew, about 70 to 80 students who rushed this fall did not get in because sororities were at capacity.
Talk of adding new sororities, to accommodate the rising numbers, began.
New scholarship opportunities for military students and dependents will decrease tuition to $250 per credit hour for both undergraduate and graduate courses.
The Troy Military and Family Scholarship, an online scholarship that opens Jan. 1, allows Troy to pay the rest of the cost of tuition beyond $250, even as tuition may rise.
The federal Military Tuition Assistance program pays $250 of every credit hour for those who are actively serving in the military or National Guard, as well as those in the reserves, so the new Troy scholarship will allow for free tuition for those serving, and reduced tuition for their families.
“Freedom is not free,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins said in a video played at the meeting promoting the new scholarship. “Troy University recognizes that quality education is not free either, but it needs to be affordable.”
Troy University gave $4.5 million more in scholarships in 2015 than in 2014, according to James Bookout, senior vice chancellor of finances and business affairs.
According to Bookout’s 2015 financial report, Troy underspent its operating budget by $3.1 million this year.
There were also several upcoming projects and issues discussed in the report.
It is estimated that the additional renovations to the Adams Administration Building will cost $2 million. The student recreation center will cost $15 million, completely funded by the students.
There are also plans to tear out the outdoor pool located near Elm Street in order to increase parking for the softball field. Around 32 parking spaces will also be added behind the Trojan Dining Hall for visitors.
The teachers’ retirement fund in Alabama currently holds $30 billion in assets but only $21 billion of this is funded.
According to Bookout, Troy is accountable for $131 million of the difference.
This is a statewide issue. UAB owes the most of any college in the state, at $1.1 billion.
Bookout said that the $21 billion in the fund must be used before the $9 billion missing becomes an issue, and it “will take years for everyone to retire in the system.”
eTroy is undergoing a rebranding and becoming TROY Online. The website will receive an overhaul, making it “easier for students to access,” according to Dew.
Another topic touched upon during the meeting was the unrest seen on college campuses this year, especially the incidents and protests that took place at the University of Missouri and Yale University.
“That was irresponsible,” Hawkins said about the University of Missouri’s president’s decision to resign. “In my estimation, you don’t close shop and resign — you deal with it.”
“It won’t happen at Troy University and I think the reason is that we have people who listen to the students,” said Lamar Higgins, a member of the board.
“Students have a place… but at some point an institution has to stand on its values,” Hawkins said.