The 2019 Truth in Tuition event held in the Gould Auditorium of the Marriott Library was geared towards illuminating the different ways that the University of Utah is addressing the proposed tuition hike of 3.2 percent, which may start this summer semester, according to Vice President of budget analysis, Mark Winters. This hike will be approved or amended by the Board of Regents next Friday.
The university set up this symposium in the Marriott Library to ensure that students and members of the public were aware and informed of the proposed hikes and the steps the university is taking in order to be more efficient with students’ payments and how the increase in tuition will benefit all students.
For example, one of the charts shown by the HR department displayed how the U has far more faculty per 100 students than other Pac-12 schools, making class sizes smaller, which enhances the student experience. Another graph showed how the U is making strides to provide professors with more online options regarding textbooks to lower costs for students. Another chart described how the university is becoming more eco-friendly in terms of lowering our electricity output and saving money.
A full list of each poster at the event can be viewed here.
We asked Winters if the $3.8 million dollars from NCAA operational revenue could be re-allocated toward students as a subsidy in order to offset tuition hikes.
Winters talked about potentially using this money to offset costs for students, to essentially subsidize the hike. “The athletic programs have overspent in past years,” Winters said. “If you look at the prior years, we were in the red, so now we are backfilling those losses. The athletic program is self-funded.” This is to say that the school is not using massive resources to fund the program that could be used for students because it is self-funded.
ASUU President-elect Anna Barnes was unsure if she supported the tuition hike, unless she knew the increased cost would lead to better staffing or an improved collegiate experience for current and future students. “As staffing costs rise, it is important to ensure that the U has the money to allocate towards these staff costs. Also, because the U is a large campus, we need to ensure that we provide enhanced interpersonal communication between teachers and students by lowering class sizes, which improves the experience for students,” Barnes said. That jives with the data that the U has more faculty per student than other Pac-12 schools, according to their data.
Barnes also stressed how the U is “ranked 11th in value in the nation, and that if increased tuition means higher return on investment and better job placement for students,” then she supports it. She emphasized that it’s important to have the students engaged “with where the revenues are going, and if revenue can be used to lower costs for students without sacrificing resources that benefit students.” According to Barnes, students should be “aware of where fees are allocated” and how important it is for ASUU to be the conduit between students and the school that provides students with a voice and with knowledge about critical institutional decisions.