Entering freshmen and graduate students will see a 2 percent tuition increase in Fall 2016 and 2017 if the proposed rates are approved by the UT System board of regents in February.
Under the plan, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley freshmen entering in 2016 would pay a total of $3,738.11 in tuition and fees for 15 credit hours, a $73.20 increase compared to those who entered the previous fall, according to information presented by the UTRGV Academic Cost Committee during forums conducted Nov. 17 on both campuses.
Graduate students who take a nine-hour course load would pay a proposed $3,324.92 for Fall 2016, a $64.80 increase from the previous fall rate.
Calculation of the estimated tuition costs for international students, online students and graduate students taking six credit hours was among the questions and suggestions audience members presented in the forums.
The committee will submit its recommended rates to UTRGV President Guy Bailey before Dec. 7 for approval. Bailey will present them to the UT System board of regents in its February meeting.
As previously reported by The Rider, in a special meeting Oct. 2, regents authorized UT schools to develop recommendations for a 2 percent increase in designated tuition and required fees.
The increase is needed to address the escalation of costs on campuses for salaries,technology,infrastructure and other expenses.
Governing boards allow institutions to increase designated tuition for any graduate or undergraduate,resident or nonresident student that the institution considers necessary for effective operation, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
“This is something happening systemwide, not only here at UTRGV,” Alberto Adame, Student Government Association president, said during the forum in Brownsville.
The forums were conducted by the UTRGV Academic Cost Committee. The committee is composed of 18 members: six students, a member each from the faculty and staff senates, one parent and nine staff members (eight are non- voting).
“Our purpose is to review the academic charges for education at UTRGV for undergraduate students and graduate students,” Adame said. “We will provide input to [President] Bailey regarding tuition and fees so he can forward them to the UT System and the board of regents so they can approve them.”
Before UTRGV opened this semester, officials announced guaranteed tuition for students who entered in Fall 2015. Additionally, the university capped tuition at 12 hours for undergraduates, meaning any semester credit hours over that amount would be free.
The tuition cap is one of the most important incentives UTRGV provides compared with its legacy institutions UT Brownsville and UT Pan American, Adame said.
“Students are not charged for an extra class they take after the 12 hours,” he said. “This way, they know about this program and take advantage of it and graduate within four years with their guaranteed rate and save a lot of money by doing so.”
Earlier this month, the committee released a survey asking for input on the proposed tuition and fees increases for the incoming classes.
Of the 3,808 responses, 3,221 were undergraduate and 587 were graduate students.
Among the questions in the survey, students were asked to indicate which areas they would prefer the additional funding to go.
The top three answers were to expand course and program offerings, provide more student employment opportunities on campus and expand the number of sections of current courses.
For more information, go to http://www.utrgv.edu/feature/ tuition-and-fees-forum.