UT institutions get first go-ahead in four years to propose tuition increases

AUSTIN – The UT System Board of Regents authorized UT institutions to present proposals for increases to tuition and fees for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 at a special-called board meeting Friday.

Most UT System in-state undergraduate students have seen little to no increase in tuition since fall 2012 and no increases in mandatory student fees since 2011. However, Chancellor William H. McRaven said the System’s academic institutions now are facing the need for significant additional resources because of the increase in costs associated with operating a university campus and the decline in per-student state appropriations over the last decade.

“Maintaining and increasing access to a college education remains one of our guiding missions. It is a mission shared by our legislators, who offered significant additional support for higher education in the last session. But even with this state funding, our institutions – which have done a tremendous job of increasing efficiency and holding the line on costs – have reached a breaking point,” McRaven said. “If we want UT institutions to continue to be nationally competitive against their peers and offer a top-notch education, we have to provide them with more financial flexibility.”

In fact, UT Austin ranks last in the amount of revenue per student when compared to other top-tier nationally ranked research institutions, Deputy Chancellor David Daniel, Ph.D., said during a presentation to Regents.

Each UT institution is now authorized to develop recommendations for increases in tuition and required fees, with significant student input, to bring to the board for consideration. The recommendations may include an increase of 2 percent per year to account for escalation of costs on campuses for salaries, technology, infrastructure and other expenses, as well as reasonable additional increases that would address student success and other needs of greatest institutional priority. The Board of Regents could vote in February on the proposals, which would take effect for the 2016-2017 academic year.

In making recommendations, institutions must address student affordability, Daniel said. He noted that typically, tuition and fees are fully covered for in-state, full-time undergraduate students whose family income is less than $60,000 by federal and state financial aid programs and scholarships.

“Our institutions will spend considerable time and effort engaging with their campus communities and preparing proposals,” Daniel said. “Much of the time and effort will be spent addressing the potential financial impact to students and their families. There is no doubt that our institutions need additional funding, but we have to make sure that we don’t limit student access.”

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 217,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and more than 70,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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