CLEMSON — Consistent with its ongoing commitment to providing a world-class college education at an affordable cost, Clemson University’s board of trustees Thursday approved the smallest percentage tuition increase for South Carolina resident students in two decades for the academic year that begins in August.

The trustees approved a 2.75 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students, or $197 per semester for a full time-student. Out-of-state undergraduate tuition will increase by 4.25 percent, or $727 per semester. Starting in the fall of 2017, posted tuition and fees for full-time South Carolina residents will be $7,356 per semester and $17,827 for non-resident students.

While much attention is given to the “sticker price” of a college education, Clemson students, on whole, pay far less than full tuition due to significant financial assistance offered by the university and the state of South Carolina, among other sources. As a result, 51 percent of Clemson students graduate without debt, compared to only 31 percent of college graduates nationally.

Additionally, the average out-of-pocket cost for an in-state freshman is 36 percent of the university’s posted price for tuition and fees and 99 percent of Clemson freshmen receive some sort of scholarship assistance from the state of South Carolina. More than two-thirds of Clemson’s undergraduate students are from South Carolina.

“Clemson University was founded to fulfill Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of a high seminary of learning and to provide an affordable, high-quality university to serve the citizens of South Carolina,” President James P. Clements said. “That commitment remains unwavering today as demonstrated by our trustees’ decision to approve small increases in tuition for the upcoming year.

“This increase will allow the university to continue to provide the high-quality education for which Clemson has become widely known while ensuring affordability and accessibility to our students.”

Students will see modest increases in the cost of housing and dining services in the upcoming year. The university offers a range of housing and dining options with flexibility to suit student needs, but on average, the price of on-campus housing will increase by $158 a semester, while meal plans will increase by, on average $90 a semester. Revenue from these increases will cover inflation, increased dining hours and nutrition options, ongoing maintenance and stewardship, replacement of outdated equipment, utilities and infrastructure.

Clemson continues its work to become more efficient in its operations and to carefully manage its finances even as it graduates more South Carolina residents. That effort is reflected both in the university’s historically high credit ratings and in significant national recognition in recent years.

For example, Clemson was rated the eight most efficient university in the nation by U.S.News & World Report in its most recent rankings, and the magazine also ranked Clemson the 23rd best public university in the country last year. Similarly, Money magazine in 2016 ranked Clemson as 12th best public university in the U.S. – and 21st overall – in terms of value to students. And Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked Clemson the 24th and 29th best college value for in-state students and out-of-state students, respectively, last year.

“This past year has been tremendous on many levels and the future is as bright as ever at Clemson University,” said Clements. “The trustees’ action today, along with the state’s ongoing support of higher education, will allow Clemson to continue to make important investments on behalf of our students as we work to fulfill our mission of being a top 20 public university.”