Finding truth in tuition

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President Holland speaks truth about tuition at his first yearly Truth and Tuition hearing. Diana Pratt/ UVU Review

President Holland speaks truth about tuition at his first yearly Truth and Tuition hearing. Diana Pratt/ UVU Review

Feb. 23 President Holland lead his first yearly “Truth and Tuition” hearing in which he emphasized the need for the university to buckle down through this tough economic time.

“It is a difficult situation we are in, but it is not the worst situation we could be in,” said Holland. “The reality of our situation has to be accepted.”

“Truth and Tuition” hearings are required by statute and allow students to ask questions about changes to second tier tuition and the allocation of university funds.

Second tier tuition is controlled by the institution with approval from the Trustees and Regents. While not all schools have second tier tuition it allows UVU to consult with students while determining the utilization of funds at the institutional level. First tier tuition is set by the Regents for all Utah higher education institutions and is determined by state budget. While most students do not have input on first tier, Trevor Tooke, UVUSA Student Body President, and some of his council did on Student Legislative Day, Feb. 18.

“The Legislators’ responsibilities might be difficult for students to understand,” said Tooke. “I think they do a good job and though I too don’t like tuition increases having a better understanding of why they are necessary makes me feel a whole lot better about them.”

When talking about dollar amount changes to tuition Holland said “a lot will hinge on what the legislature will decide to do.” He said he will be asking for no additional tax fund reductions, funding for the new science building and will “continue our plea for enrollment growth” as decisions are made by both the Board of Trustees and Board of Regents.

Despite these requests to the Regents students should expect a raise in tuition to meet campus needs, face market pressures, fill in the gaps left by waning state compensation and support continuing enrollment growth. For resident students this increase will be between 6-10 percent or $104-173 per semester for students in the plateau range (12-18 credits). For non-residents the second tier increase will be between 1.84-3.06 percent or $104-173 per semester. However, students should keep in mind that this range is dependent on legislative action.

The proposed 6 percent increase would generate an estimated $3,400,000 for the school while a 10 percent increase would generate an estimated $5,667,000.

Holland showed graphs and charts to explain the allocation of past, current and future funds. The three items on his list to be covered by this revenue from tuition increase are the reduction of programmatic impact of tax fund reductions, student success and operational initiatives. Under student success were listed engaged learning, community engagement, student experience, inclusiveness and on-campus employment/internships. Operational initiatives included compensation (retirement rate change, rank advancements, faculty/staff recruiting and retention, adjunct rates), support services and technology.

When asked about the future of new programs and the athletics department Holland explained that programs will grow on a case by case basis. “We are not looking to aggressively grow programs,” said Holland. He went on to state under the pinch of this reduction we should be worrying more about finding funds to stay afloat and support enrollment growth while remaining committed to our mission and aspirations.

The second tier tuition increase proposal will be developed mid-March and will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees on March 25. The Board of Regents will review first and second tier tuition increases on April 1. Final 2010-2011 tuition rates will be set by the Board of Regents on April 2.