The annual Truth in Tuition hearing is a state requirement from the Utah System of Higher Education, and is an opportunity for students to give their input on any proposed raise in tuition. The hearing Feb. 17 with 10 students in attendance, most of whom were members of UVUSA, had low participation, a problem that plagues this meeting every year.
With the continued low attendance at the hearing it was proposed that in the coming years they combine this hearing with the presentation of the increased tuition in the UVUSA Council meeting and leave the meeting open to other students to attend.
In accordance with USHE rules the hearing was publicized around campus for a few weeks before it was held.
According to Linda Makin, vice president of Planning and Budget, enrollment at UVU is expected to increase to 40,000 by 2020 and 45,000 by 2025, and the university is considered to be in a growth mode.
“Tuition setting in Utah is a two-tier approach,” said Makin. “With the first tier being set by the regents and mostly supports compensation. The second-tier is set at the institution level and is based on what we need.”
Utah is a low tuition state; one of the five lowest in the country. Tuition dollars pay for salaries, wages and benefits along with other expenses such as supplies, travel and equipment.
The university is tentatively projecting a 0-2 percent increase in tuition for next year, which will be determined by the budget that is approved by the Legislature. The goal will be to keep tuition low for students so that the cost of higher education doesn’t become a prohibitive barrier. With the projected increase in first and second tier tuition there will be an increase of $58 to $117 for in-state residents and $181 to $264 for non-residents.
Three out of the last four years UVU has been successful in not increasing tuition in the second tier level of tuition setting.
“We’re just trying to keep tuition as low as we can as part of our mission,” said Matthew Holland, president of UVU. “And what we do raise we will spend on those core themes and administrative imperatives.”
The proposed revenue allocation is $600,000 toward student success, $300,000 toward student and academic support programs, $200,000 toward helping the university operate effectively by updating technology on campus and automated systems and $540,000 toward helping manage growth.
“We’ve got more students coming in,” said Holland. “That puts more pressure on the services all over the campus. So having some funding to deal with that would be very helpful.”
The legislative session ends March 10 and by then the approved budget from the legislature will be known. That day the President’s Council will finalize any second tier tuition raise that will be made, and tuition will be reviewed and approved March 17 by Presidents Council. The recommendation will then be sent to the Board of Trustees who will review and most likely approve it March 30 and the Board of Regents will approve first and second tier tuition April 1.
Another initiative that UVU has at the legislature that does not effect how much tuition is raised has reached a bit of a speed bump. The Arts building has been ranked 7th on the list of buildings by the committee in the legislature. Holland encouraged students to reach out to their legislators and encourage them to approve additional funding for the building, letting them know the Arts building is important to the community and to students.
Carrie is the Editor in Chief for the 2015-2016 school year.