Make a move on tuition

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Tuition may be important enough for the UT System Board of Regents to talk about after all. Today marks the beginning of the board’s two-day meeting, and tuition has finally made the agenda.

Students and UT institutions alike have long awaited the board to address the issue, as many expected the regents to set tuition in March. The delay led to uncertainty regarding the cost of system schools.

Last fall, the regents gave UT two directives: to tie any requests for tuition increases to the effort to improve four-year graduation rates and to limit tuition increase requests to the change in the consumer price index, resulting in a limit of about 2.6 percent. The University could also request an additional 1 percent increase for out-of-state and graduate students.

Each tuition-setting year, the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee presents President William Powers Jr. with a proposal regarding tuition policy at the University. Powers then formulates his own recommendation to submit to the Board of Regents, and in both 2010 and 2012, Powers forwarded TPAC’s recommendations on to the board.

This year, Powers requested a resident tuition increase of 2.6 percent and a nonresident increase of 3.6 percent each year for the next two academic years — a proposal that maximizes tuition increases for UT given the board’s directives. UT-Austin is the only school in the system that requested a different increase for resident and nonresident students.

Because all universities in the UT System adhered to the board’s directives, the reason for the delay is unwarranted. Hopefully the Board of Regents will set tuition for UT System institutions this week to allow students to know the cost of attendance for the next two academic years and to allow universities to adjust their budgets accordingly.