Board of Regents approve tuition increase

U students will pay more money in the coming year for both tuition and student fees.

The State Board of Regents on Friday approved first- and second-tier tuition increases for nine of Utah’s universities, including the U.

The average total combined increase-in tuition and fees-for undergraduate U students will be 7.45 percent.

“Compared to the other state institutions, seven-and-a-half percent is not on the high side, perhaps it’s even on the low side,” said Paul Brinkman, associate vice president for budget and planning.

Tuition alone will go up 7.9 percent-$265 for a full-time student-and student fees will increase by 5.2 percent or $16, according to the Regents.

The U’s tuition hike is less than the state average of 8.3 percent.

However, graduate students’ tuition took a harder hit, climbing 11 percent at the U-or an average of $314 for a full- time student. In addition, graduate student fees increased by 10 percent.

While tuition and student fees continued their upward trend, Regents said this year’s increases are minimal because of more state attention to higher education.

“Due to an improved economy and the Legislature’s hard work, we are not seeing increases as high as previously thought,” said Board of Regents Chairperson Nolan Karras.

However, some members of the board expressed concern about the increase.

“Tuition keeps rising, and with financial aid as low as it is, it’s hard for students to pay,” said Trenton Kemp, a member of the Board of Regents. “Utah students are the lowest recipients of financial aid in the country. People are working 30 to 40 hours a week and have kids, but can’t receive financial aid.”

First-tier tuition, which funds each institution’s share of faculty compensation packages-including health and dental premiums-climbed 3.5 percent. The first-tier is uniform for all nine institutions and is approved by the state Legislature.

Second-tier tuition varies per institution to address specific campus-needs including adding full-time faculty, faculty retention, classroom improvements and library enhancements.

The U’s second-tier tuition, which was approved by the administration and student government in a Truth in Tuition meeting two weeks ago, is 4.4 percent for undergraduates.

Student fees are charged to all regular students in conjunction with the payment of tuition. They support various campus programs such as student activities, student center operations, student computer operations, intercollegiate athletics and student health programs.

The Board of Trustees met Monday, March 14 prior to the Board of Regents meeting on Friday, March 18, to discuss the U’s tuition.

“This is a lower figure and students have been very supportive,” said U President Michael Young. “They were not hanging off the rafters necessarily, but the students were very complimentary to the Legislature…and that had an impact.”

Senior Vice President David Pershing said the state is still $15 million behind in funding growth, which may lead the U to cut students or increase its admittance standards. However, he said the U is hopeful that the state will eventually allocate enrollment growth money.

Vice Chairperson of the Trustees Hope Eccles asked why student enrollment has not already been cut.

She continued, saying the Legislature is “absolutely pretending” the enrollment growth problem does not exist.

“I think it’s good to recognize [the Legislature] gave us money, but in reality we’re not being funded,” Eccles said.

She added that the Trustees “should not be too cautious about raising tuition and requirements as much as needed rather than the bare minimum” to solve such problems.

Pershing said they tried to balance the U’s needs with what students could afford.

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