Committee sends proposal to UT System Board of Regents recommending tuition increase

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A committee of seven student leaders proposed a tuition increase of 2.6 percent for in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students to the president’s office Thursday, according to Student Government President Horacio Villarreal.

The decision was made in less than four weeks, after the UT System sent out revised instructions for the tuition proposal. Originally, the UT System said the committee could not consider an increase of in-state tuition. The committee also originally asked for a 3.6 percent increase for out-of-state undergraduate students.

The potential increase would raise the weighted-average tuition for undergraduates taking 15 credit hours from $4,899 to $5,026. Out-of-state undergraduate tuition would raise from $16,921 to $17,361 if UT System approves the proposal.

According to Thomas Melecki, director of student financial services, the University will allocate more money for need-based financial aid in keeping with increased tuition rates.

According to Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer, the proposal has been endorsed by President William Powers Jr. and was sent to the UT System for approval Friday.

Hegarty said the proposal would generate $9.1 million in net revenue to campus. Twenty percent of the revenue would go toward financial aid for students.

“There are a number of categories of how the money might be spent,” Hegarty said. “Faculty salaries are a high priority.”

Senate of College Councils President Andrew Clark, who is a member of the committee, said the committee recommended a 2.6 percent tuition increase for out-of-state undergraduates, rather than the full 3.6 percent increase they were authorized to recommend, because of input from the town halls.

“Originally, what was on the table was an out-of-state increase of 3.6 percent, but we changed it to 2.6 percent because of the feedback at every forum we have that out-of-state tuition has been rising,” Clark said. “We wanted to do something to balance it out a bit. Obviously, 2.6 percent is still higher, but it’s a little bit of relief.”

Clark said the committee agreed to propose an increase for in-state and out-of-state tuition in order to keep the University competitive. 

“Tuition is the only source that we have direct control over,” Clark said. “Just to remain competitive, we need to ensure we have consistent sources of recurring funding.”