by Max Brantley
The University of Central Arkansas joined ASU with a board-approved tuition increase today. It's equivalent to a 3.1 percent rise, said a campus statement, which emphasized that the increase was smaller than that at many other campuses and necessary because of state budget cuts.
Not to worry. The lottery will fix all that, right?
UCA President Allen C. Meadors' Statement on Tuition and Fee Increase for 2010-11 Academic Year:
The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees approved an increase in tuition and fees for the 2010-11 academic year during its meeting on May 7.
A $1 per credit hour tuition increase approved by the board will generate approximately $285,000. A $3 per credit hour increase in library fee, recommended by the students and faculty, will help support library resources and services as well as extend library hours of operation.
Revenue from the $3 per credit hour increase in the athletic fee will pay salaries currently being funded from instruction and will free up funds for use in the academic areas. A portion of the athletic fee revenue will also cover additional costs of scholarship increases and fund across the board salary increases for non-classified employees and faculty.
The tuition and fee increase equates to a 3.1 percent increase for tuition and fees for undergraduate students and a 2.6 percent increase for graduate students. The percentage increase is near, if not, the lowest compared with other institutions within the state.
We realize that the increase tuition and fees may come at a bad time during this struggling economy. However, the university, like others throughout the state, has seen cuts in its budget. The university’s state appropriations was cut $2.3 million during this fiscal year. A state cut implemented in January forced us to reduce academics by 1% of its budget and all non-academic areas were reduced by 2%. We made sure those cuts did not impact student instruction.
Along with the state cuts, additional revenue was needed to cover the rising cost of property, liability, workers compensation and unemployment insurances as well as an increase to the university's current budget for utilities.
The university has been frugal in its spending and our budget for fiscal year 2011 is conservative and reflects the state cuts. Even with our cost saving measures over the past year, we cannot continue to cut operating budgets and provide the same level of quality education and service.
It is our goal to sustain our strong academic programs; maintain the small student-to-faculty ratio; and enhance the services we provide our students.
While we do not like raising our tuition and fees, we know the reduction of state appropriations and the rising cost of operation requires us to do so in order to maintain the quality academic programs to meet the diverse needs of our students.