UT Regents adopt tuition increases

Fall increase pushed back for review

By Sharon Jayson
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The University of Texas Board of Regents on Tuesday approved tuition increases for its system campuses but imposed a 60-day delay on higher rates for 2004-05.

"It creates a 60-day window when we can receive additional input from students and the interim committee and any policymaking bodies, and that's all good," UT System Chancellor Mark Yudof said following the unanimous board vote.

The delay is a nod toward Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst who on Friday asked the state's universities to delay enacting increases for 2004-05. He said he wants a legislative panel to review spring increases. The other five major Texas university systems previously approved increases for the spring. Only the UT System proposed a tuition increase for the 2004-05 school year.

At UT-Austin, the system's flagship campus, tuition would go up $360 in the spring semester and an additional $360 beginning in the fall for full-time students from Texas. Those increases, along with a modest tuition boost mandated by the Legislature and slightly higher fees, would bring the total bill for tuition and fees to $3,013 per semester for a Texas undergraduate taking the minimum 12 credit hour course load.

UT Regents Chairman Charles Miller said he is confident legislators will see that the proposals offered by UT System campuses are solid and fair.

"It's showing people we're very careful and very open to scrutiny," he said. "The more serious focus on higher education we have from the Legislature and other policymakers the better it is for us."

Earlier, in a meeting of the joint interim Committee on Higher Education, neither of the panel's co-chairs, Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, and Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, echoed Dewhurst's concerns.

"I've been most impressed with what UT's done because they've been open about the process all along," said Morrison. "I think we'll find that they've been very mindful of our middle-income students."

The committee is set to hold a tuition hearing in January.

"Our intent at our hearing is for the Legislative Budget Board to show us each institution's decrease in state funding, and then have each institution justify increases in tuition," Shapiro said.

UT System: Rising price of education