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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Legislators to examine lowering tuition costs

As the legislative session approaches, officials from the Utah State Board of Regents have soaring tuition costs and the decreasing time it takes students to graduate on their minds.

The Regents presented legislators with their priorities for the session at a meeting of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee on Oct. 19 at the Capitol.

Among their recommendations was a proposal for a 75/25 higher education funding split. The deal would call for the state to pick up 75 percent of the bill for classes, while college students would be required to pay the remaining 25 percent.

Currently, according to the Deseret Morning News, Utah students pay 35 percent of the cost of their education; the state pays the remaining 65 percent.

Richard Kendall, commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education, said the compensation split would slow the increase of tuition and would save Utah students about $3.8 million per year, overall.

“It’s a benefit to students over time,” Kendall said.

While most legislators expressed concern about the climbing cost of tuition, others were skeptical of dishing out more money.

“We haven’t defined that a college education is a tax-supported entitlement,” said Rep. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem. “I’m getting the premise that for everybody who hasn’t prepared for college, we need to provide for them.”

Shana Mecham, a freshman political science major, said she thinks a 75/25 funding split will make it easier for more minority and disadvantaged students to afford college.

“It gives more opportunity to a student,” Mecham said.

The regents also expressed concern because, on average, Utah students are going to school three semesters longer than traditionally required.

Across the board, Utah colleges recommend that a bachelor’s degree take eight semesters to complete-numbers provided by the Board of Regents show that most Utah students, including U students, are taking 11 to 12 semesters to graduate.

Kendall said Utah students are likely taking longer to graduate because the high cost of tuition is requiring them to seek extra employment to work their way through school.

Legislators resolved to look into the issues further to prepare for the spring legislative session.

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