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UT System regents to consider tuition plans

Later this semester, the University of Texas System board of regents will consider increasing tuition and fees for all of its institutions.

UT System Chancellor William McRaven addressed the regents Wednesday on the need to retain faculty, improve student success and continue to provide essential services.

“The fact is we fall well below our peers in terms of national rankings of our flagship, our merging research universities and our comprehensive universities,” McRaven said during the meeting, which was held on the UT Medical Branch campus in Galveston. “The fact is most of our tuition and fees are at or well below the national average. The fact is the tuition and fees are the single greatest driver for revenue, which if spent wisely, improves the quality of our schools.”

The chancellor said it’s difficult to remain competitive without additional revenues. Most UT System in-state undergraduate students have seen little to no tuition increases since the fall of 2012.

McRaven said students from low-income families could still get grants and institutional support and will continue to pay little to nothing to attend a UT institution.

The proposals presented included detailed plans on how new revenue would be spent to serve students and provide faculty support.

All UT System institutions, except UTRGV, proposed an increase of more than 2 percent for undergraduate tuition and fees. UT Arlington seeks a 3.5 percent increase for traditional resident undergraduates; UT Austin, 3.1 percent; UT El Paso, 4.5 percent; UT Permian Basin, 6 percent; UT San Antonio, 6.4 percent; UT Tyler, 4 percent; and UT Dallas, 6.4 percent for guaranteed resident undergraduate tuition and fees.

For UTRGV, the total academic cost (TAC) for new resident undergraduates would increase from $3,650 to $3,724 in Fall 2016 and to $3,798 in Fall 2017. New non-resident undergraduates would see an increase from $9,500 to $9,574 in Fall 2016 and $9,648 in Fall 2017.

The TAC for new resident graduate students entering next fall would increase from $3,249 to $3,304 per semester and up to $3,360 in Fall 2017. For non-resident graduate students tuition and fees would increase from $6,759 to $6,814 in Fall 2016 and $6,870 in Fall 2017.

The UTRGV projected new net revenue for year one is $0.52 million and for year two, $1.63 million.

Students who entered UTRGV in Fall 2015 have guaranteed tuition depending on their semester credit hours. Additionally, the university capped tuition at 12 hours for undergraduates, meaning any semester credit hours over
that amount would be free.

Entering freshmen will also have the 12-hour-capped tuition and fixed rates for four years. New graduate students
will have fixed rates for two years.

The board of regents is expected to vote on the proposals later this semester.

“The bottom line for me is that the presidents believe that this revenue is needed in order to support their universities,” McRaven said. “I trust the presidents. … We have gone through the process of verifying each of these recommended tuition increases. … In reality, this is a very modest increase in dollars and, let me tell you, I support the presidents.”

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