Students are likely to experience tuition and fee increases over the course of five upcoming semesters, beginning next spring.
Robert Gratz, special assistant to the president, said initial proposals of any potential tuition and fee raises are due to the Texas State University System office by April 2. The Board of Regents will hear plans from the eight member institutions including Sam Houston State University at the May 24 and 25 meeting on the Lamar University campus.
Gratz said university officials have made progress in reducing the number of fees to be increased in the coming semesters. He said the president’s cabinet members should have a more specific idea of the exact growth of tuition and fees to the dollar amount at the March 30 cabinet meeting.
Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said the regents are having the system universities present tuition and fee increase proposals for spring, summer and fall of 2013, as well as spring and summer of 2014, at the May meeting.
Nance said the bus, library and computer service fees have not had funding growth in several years and could receive additional money from proposed increases. The student center, the recreation center and medical fees are not expected to see cost raises.
Provost Eugene Bourgeois said any potential fee increases will be coupled with designated tuition cost raises. He said any proposed tuition and fee growth is expected to be “very modest.”
Nance said the former protocol for formulating tuition and fee increases involved presenting a plan to the Board of Regents in November for a proposed raise the next fall semester. He said the universities were “caught a little off guard” because the regents have never asked for such detailed tuition and fee proposals two years in advance.
Nance said some regents of other system institutions, including the University of Texas – Austin, have switched over to approving tuition and fee proposals two years ahead. He said surrounding system decisions may have factored in, but he is not exactly sure why the TSUS regents switched from the former tuition and fee increase protocol.
“The legislature will meet in the spring of 2013,” Nance said. “If they cut us again, like the $17 million they cut out of our budget the last time, you’re stuck. We will have already established tuition and fee rates and have no opportunity to make up for that cut. That’s a little disconcerting.”
Bourgeois said the university must hold a public hearing before the May Board of Regents meeting to discuss the potential tuition and fee increases with students, faculty and staff. He said Nance will help lead the discussion along with Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs, and Associated Student Government leaders.
“For example, if the cabinet is thinking that some of that tuition and fee increase will hopefully go toward merit raises for faculty and staff, Mr. Nance will be able to state that. And I would be able to back that up,” Bourgeois said. “I would also answer questions into proposed uses for the designated tuition and fees.”
Nance said the 2009 legislative session resulted in the Texas House of Representatives passing a resolution which asked universities to limit tuition and fee increases to 3.95 percent. He said the Texas Senate did not pass the resolution to make it a law, but many people regard it as an “expression of legislative will.”
“The Board of Regents is the final authority on the tuition and fee plans,” Nance said. “It’s making our job difficult to fit everything we need into that cap and it certainly can be done.”
Bourgeois said freshmen population growth next semester is expected to be 3 to 4 percent with a maximum increase of 5 percent equaling approximately 4,700 new students. He said the increase of students and new proposals recently offered by deans in strategic planning presentations will contribute to the areas funded by tuition and fees.
Bourgeois said items such as enhancing graduate programs, adding new doctoral degrees and increasing distance education online classes requires the hiring of new faculty positions. He said fees go toward the specific areas each support, such as the library or buses. The tuition funds can be used to support merit raises for faculty and staff and the hiring of new positions.
“(The growth of the university) does produce additional revenue, but there are costs including buildings to provide teaching, labs and faculty office space for educational activity,” Nance said. “No one relishes raising tuition and fees, but it’s a necessary evil in today’s climate.”
read more: http://star.txstate.edu/node/5542
- Board of Regents to vote on proposed tuition increase at next meeting (timesoftexas.com)
- Texas Tech University Board of Regents Approve Tuition Hike (timesoftexas.com)
- Texas A&M president proposes tuition hike (timesoftexas.com)
- Tuition discussions stay closed to committee members despite requests to open them (timesoftexas.com)
- WT mulls tuition hike – “Across the country, it’s gotten tough to pay for college.” (timesoftexas.com)
- The partial budget picture – Viewpoint (timesoftexas.com)
- Young Conservatives press UT-Austin for open tuition meetings (timesoftexas.com)
- Students push for voting power in higher education (timesoftexas.com)