UT Tyler Faces Tuition Hike
By EMILY GUEVARA
Higher tuition and fees could be on the horizon for students at The University of Texas at Tyler.
The UT System board of regents on Thursday approved tuition and fee increases at most of its nine campuses, although some at lower rates than requested, according to The Associated Press.
The major exception was The University of Texas at Austin, where regents rejected the request to raise tuition over the next two years.
Regents instead froze rates for most students at the flagship Austin campus and decided to give the school a short-term boost of cash from its multibillion-dollar endowment fund, according to the AP.
The board approved out-of-state undergraduate tuition and fee increases and one year of graduate and professional degree programs tuition and fee increases at all nine UT Tyler institutions, according to the UT System.
UT Tyler proposed tuition and fee increases of 2.1 percent for undergraduate students and 3.6 percent for graduate students over the next two years.
It was unclear Thursday whether the regents approved UT Tyler's request as proposed or a modified version of it. UT Tyler officials declined to comment about the issue late Thursday but planned to speak about it today. Emails and a call to UT System representatives were not returned late Thursday.
Tuition and fees for resident undergraduate students at UT Tyler were $3,532 for the fall 2011 semester. That assumes a 15-credit-hour course load.
Based on the proposed increases, resident undergraduate students would have to pay $3,611 this coming fall and $3,686 in fall 2013. That amounts to a $79 increase the first year and a $75 increase the second.
The price increase is the same amount for nonresident undergraduate students although their tuition and fees cost more to start with. They are in the $8,000 range.
Graduate resident and nonresident students would see a $108 increase in fall 2012 and a $99 increase for fall 2013, according to UT Tyler's proposal. This assumes a nine-credit-hour course load per semester.
Tuition is above the $2,700 mark for resident graduate students and above the $5,600 for nonresident graduate students, according to the UT System information.
The factor that could change these increases for UT Tyler students is an influx of money from the UT System. In addition to approving the increases, the board allocated $16 million over the next two years for the eight other UT System schools, according to a prepared statement from the system.
The board instructed System Chancellor Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa to allocate the funds in a way that those eight institutions, which include UT Tyler, could reduce or eliminate the proposed tuition and fee increases for the next two years.
The board voted to pay UT Austin $13.2 million in place of raising the undergraduate tuition and fees for Texas residents at that school.
"The Board of Regents feels strongly that the resident undergraduate students enrolled at our institutions should not bear the burden of an increase in tuition and fee rates and the board has been able to identify additional financial resources to offset any increase while the campuses implement Chancellor Cigarroa's framework," board chairman Gene Powell said, according to the prepared statement. "As the campuses begin to implement cost saving initiatives aimed at bending the cost curve down, the board is confident the academic institutions will be able to successfully minimize or completely offset any increase in costs to resident undergraduate students and their families in the future."
The money for UT Austin and the rest of the system schools comes from the Available University Fund.
Constitutionally, UT Austin is the only institution of the nine UT academic institutions that can receive money from this fund for its operations, according to the statement.
However, in certain circumstances, the UT System can use fund money for other purposes such as capital projects at the other eight institutions and to pay certain expenses.
Powell said the universities should not count on these additional funds for more than two years, according to the statement.
In the past eight years, UT Tyler's tuition and fees for resident undergraduate students have almost doubled going from $1,795 in fall 2003 to $3,534 this fall, according to information from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The 97 percent tuition and fee increase for UT Tyler during that time fell above the state average of 90 percent for the more than 30 Texas public universities included in the report.
Eleven universities had tuition and fee increases greater than 100 percent during the eight-year period. Seven had increases greater than 90 percent; 10 greater than 80 percent; and five greater than 70 percent. One university had an increase of 57 percent.
The Texas A&M University System regents were expected to vote on tuition rates at their campuses on Friday, according to the AP. The president of the A&M system's flagship campus in College Station did not request a tuition increase this year, the AP reported.