by Max Brantley
It's spring and that means it's time to increase tuition for the next college year. UCA got the ball rolling last week with a 3.59 percent increase.
The fiscal affairs committee of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will discuss increases proposed at the various system campuses tomorrow.
The proposed increases range at the major campuses from 3.5 percent at Fayetteville to 10 percent at Fort Smith. UALR proposes 4.9 percent. Here's a link to the full list.
The UA news release on the meeting (on the jump) notes that state support has been dropping as a percentage of total cost and per student, thanks to a big increase in the number enrolled. (Remember when lottery creators said the amendment would prevent the legislature from decreasing support for higher education? In dollar terms, perhaps. But that is not so meaningful. Meanwhile, the ever shrinking lottery scholarship, is down from $5,000 to $2,000 for first-year students in three years' time.)
UA NEWS RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK - The Fiscal Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas will meet on Tuesday, May 14 to review and consider proposed tuition and fee rates at UA System colleges and universities for the 2013-14 school year.
Institutions that have proposed tuition and fee increases exceeding 3.5 percent will appear before the committee at the request of Jane Rogers, chairman of the board of trustees.
The committee will meet at 1:00 p.m. at the B. Alan Sugg Administration Building at 2404 N. University Avenue in Little Rock. The committee will present its recommendations on the proposals at a regular meeting of the full board of trustees on May 23.
“I understand that our institutions are facing a number of funding challenges in a time when new revenues are scarce; however, I felt that it would be prudent for the Fiscal Affairs Committee to take a close look at each request and hear presentations from those seeking increases over 3.5 percent,” Rogers said. “As trustees, we have an obligation to ensure our institutions are strong financially, while also taking into account the affordability offered to our students.”
While the proposed 2013-14 tuition and fee schedules vary depending on funding needs and budgets of the individual UA System institutions, each plans to dedicate new revenues toward areas such as student retention initiatives, campus security, and faculty and staff support.
Those campuses that will present to the committee include the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, the University of Arkansas at Monticello and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Click here to view the tuition and fee proposals and meeting schedule.
As part of an effort to enhance campus security, the five two-year colleges in the UA System are all requesting new or increased Public Safety Fees. Because their proposed increases are 3.5 percent or less excluding the Public Safety Fees, the two-year campuses were not asked to appear before the committee.
State funding accounts for less than half of the education and general revenue for several two- and four-year campuses in the UA System, while tuition and fees account for the rest.
The percentage of higher education funding provided by state appropriations has steadily decreased over the last decade as state budgets have tightened and enrollment has expanded on college and university campuses.
The five four-year universities in the UA System have seen total annual enrollment climb by more than 7,000 FTE (full-time students) since the 2008 fiscal year. Meanwhile, state funding per FTE has not kept pace, falling by 17 percent from $7,210 to $5,994 during that time, according to data from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. State funding for the two-year colleges in the UA System is down nearly $100 per student since 2008, according to ADHE data.
States across the country are facing similar challenges as state budgets have tightened following the 2008 economic recession. An annual study by the Illinois State University Center for the Study of Higher Education and the State Higher Education Executive Officers found that state appropriations for higher education fell 7.6 percent nationally in 2011-12.
The members of the Fiscal Affairs Committee will be together for lunch at 12:30 p.m. prior to the committee meeting.