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students at Downtown Campus
Students at UTSA Downtown Campus

Board of Regents approves UT System tuition rates

(March 14, 2005)--The UT System Board of Regents on Thursday, March 10 approved tuition and fee rates for fall 2005 after reviewing campus proposals submitted to the UT System.

UT campuses were instructed last fall to keep tuition and fee increases at approximately 5 percent or less, barring exceptional circumstances and need. The majority of tuition and fee increases approved by the board, including statutory tuition, designated tuition and mandatory fees, were at or below 5 percent for full-time resident undergraduate students.

UT Brownsville and UT Pan American increased tuition and fees 12.8 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively. These two institutions were below the previous state maximum for designated tuition. Two other academic institution proposals -- UT Arlington and UT Dallas -- are still under review and will be considered by the board at a later date.

The campus tuition proposals approved by the board, along with analyses conducted by the UT System, are posted on the UT System tuition Web site and are available for viewing or downloading. The site includes details about the process that the UT System and its campuses use to set tuition, information about financial aid and many other features.

"The board has looked closely at these tuition increases before approving them," said James R. Huffines, chairman of the Board of Regents. "We have a lot of confidence that the UT System and its institutions have created thoughtful, in-depth tuition programs that address higher education's broad priorities and the needs of the public. I am very grateful to the presidents and to the campus student leaders for their hard work and involvement in developing these proposals presented today to the regents. The broad support for tuition proposals was evident in all of the presentations and feedback that we have seen on this very inclusive process."

Huffines cited several key priorities that are incorporated in the tuition and fee plans approved by the board:

  • Keeping a UT education affordable
  • Developing tuition proposals in full consultation with students, faculty and other constituencies
  • Making sure that all students with financial needs receive appropriate aid
  • Meeting the needs of a diverse and rapidly growing student population and assisting the state in achieving its goals for increased college enrollment and timely graduation rates
  • Operating a tuition system that passes the most demanding tests of accountability and transparency
  • Using creative incentives to help students save money and help institutions achieve their strategic goals.

"It's vital to the UT System that students won't lose the opportunity for a good education because of financial need," said Huffines. "At the same time, we have to ensure we're offering all our students the highest possible caliber of education."

In making his recommendations to the board, Chancellor Mark G. Yudof said, "We have worked diligently to keep tuition increases at a minimum consistent with maintaining high educational standards and current services for our students. The process has been difficult because our campuses have been dealing for years with rapid student enrollment growth without a corresponding increase in funding from state government. As a consequence, even though state funding has been relatively stable, the amount of state funding per full-time student has actually decreased substantially -- by an average of almost 14 percent since the 2002 biennium. There is a limit to how much more we can do with this much less."

"We are working with the state's leadership and the Legislature to find solutions for the continuing challenge of developing adequate resources to pay for growth," Yudof said. "This issue is of profound importance since higher education in Texas is expected to absorb 600,000 new students by 2015 to achieve the state's objectives in Closing the Gaps in college attendance and graduation."

The regents approved plans that include setting aside at least 20 percent of new tuition revenues for financial aid programs, as well as a variety of ways that students can take advantage of special discounts in tuition rates. Institutions are committed to providing additional funds to meet students' needs.

UT campuses will use the additional tuition revenues to enhance academic programs and student services, such as hiring additional faculty and advisers, reducing class sizes and making repairs and renovations to campus buildings.

The plans approved also include a variety of incentives to encourage students to graduate on time by taking more semester credit hours per semester.

Increasing the graduation rate -- by using such incentives as flat rate tuition -- and shortening the time that students take to earn a degree will serve several purposes. It will allow institutions to admit more new students with current facilities and resources because older students will be leaving on time. It will also save students and their families significant amounts of money by cutting total student living expenses and speeding up the entry of graduates into the professional labor market.

The UT System has 15 campuses, including nine academic and six health institutions, and an annual operating budget of $8.5 billion (FY 2005). Student enrollment exceeded 182,000 in the 2004 academic year. The UT System confers one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 76,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in Texas.

For more information, contact Anthony de Bruyn or Cile Spelce at (512) 499-4363.

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