UTSA's Tuition and Fees Proposal
I was impressed by the strong student turnout last week for the referendum vote on the proposed Athletics and Transportation fees. As with any good democratic process, the results send a message that deserves attention and due consideration as we move forward with our efforts to be a student-centric university.
I am writing to share information regarding the tuition proposal I am bringing forward to the U.T. System Board of Regents, which has been revised to remove the Athletics and Transportation fees. UTSA’s proposed tuition plans reflect the lowest rate increases of all the U.T. System institutions, and they are on-par with cost of living increases (for 2017, the Higher Education Price Index inflation rate was 3.7% and the Consumer Price Index was 2.2%).
The Board of Regents require that any new tuition and fee revenue be used to address initiatives in the following three categories: 1) student success, 2) student support and 3) faculty recruitment, retention and excellence.
UTSA’s additional tuition revenue will benefit students by:
- Providing permanent funding for student success initiatives comprising advising, technology, and the First-Year Experience program, as well as any future interventions to come out of the work of the Student Success Task Force. Those programs with the greatest promise to increase graduation and retention rates will be prioritized.
- Preserving of UTSA’s current financial aid awarding philosophy, making a UTSA education possible for our neediest students. Roadrunners who have a family contribution of zero will have 90 percent or more of their tuition and fees covered through grants and scholarships (assuming they meet stated deadlines and eligibility requirements).
- Providing funds to help fill financial aid gaps for low-income and middle-income students in the form of grants or work-study for both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Supporting faculty excellence and recruitment in order to deliver world-class experiences to students. Reducing student-faculty ratios will be a priority, leading to reduced class sizes and opportunities for personalized instruction.
- Designating funding for campus sustainability programs started under the prior Green Fee.
Input was integral to the process of putting our tuition proposal together. UTSA’s Tuition and Fees Committee—comprised of faculty, staff and 30 students from across disciplines—held open meetings throughout the fall semester to discuss, deliberate and analyze tuition approaches that emphasize affordability while enhancing support for student success programs.
Based on the committee’s feedback, as well as the input of local elected officials we consulted as a part of the process, the final proposal includes some new approaches to help us balance our many priorities.
As one example, the proposal includes differential tuition rates for students taking upper division undergraduate and graduate courses in the Colleges of Engineering and Business. This tactic reflects the higher cost of instruction for these courses, while offsetting impact by reducing or omitting course fees and designating 15% of the additional revenue generated to financial aid for students in those disciplines. Differential tuition practices have been successfully implemented at several other U.T. institutions, and I am confident they will be equally effective here at UTSA. I encourage COE and COB students, faculty and staff to attend one of the Town Halls on Differential Tuition next week to learn more.
I will be presenting UTSA’s tuition request to the Board of Regents on February 27, and they will make a decision by vote on March 9. Any questions regarding the process or proposal are welcome, and can be directed to Anne Peters at email@example.com.
My thanks go to Kathy Funk-Baxter, Vice President for Business Affairs, and Mauli Agrawal, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, for leading our proposal process this year. A special thank you to all the students on the committee – their voices helped to shape the final proposal and make it all the more reflective of our students’ needs.