The truth behind your tuition

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President Holland and Linda Makin, vice president of Budgeting and Planning, collaborated last Tuesday to present the annual ‘Truth in Tuition’ hearing. Their presentation offered students and faculty an inside look at the proposed tuition increase of zero to three percent, contingent on state funding.

The Utah System of Higher Education has set a priority for establishing a ‘minimum floor’ of $4,800 per full-time enrolled student for each institution. Although the $4,800 floor may not be met this year, UVU is still expected to receive 42 percent of acute equity funding from the state.

“If the state were to provide help to UVU with compensation and with equity, it would be ill-advised to raise second tier tuition,” President Holland said. “With the hope that an increase in state funding does happen, we’ve set the second tier tuition increase at a range from zero to three percent.”

Utah has a two-tier tuition model, meaning the first tier set by state legislature and the second tier is determined by the university to extend funding. Tuition increased by more than $200 for the 2013-14 year, but when compared to other universities, UVU has remained conservative toward increasing second tier tuition in recent years.

The largest rise in second tier tuition for UVU in the last five years was in 2009 with an increase of 7.6 percent. This increase in tuition raised almost $3.6 million in revenue for the university to appropriate to student programs, enhancing technology and resources and employee compensation.

Student enrollment may still be in the decline, but UVU remains one of the largest universities in Utah with more than 30,000 students. UVU enrollment projections designate the student population will increase significantly beginning next year, indicating an expansion with the increased need for funding.

“We think we’ve hit the lowest point in enrollment resulting from the missionary age change,” Makin said. “Over the long term, we expect to continue toward the projected 40,000 student enrollment number by 2020. This is being driven by public education enrollments and students continuing their degrees.”

UVU continues to be an affordable institution despite the economic recession that led to increased tuition rates nationwide. When compared to peer institutions such as Cal State, Northridge and Boise State, UVU maintained tuition rates below the national average of $7,300.

Tuition and fees for resident students attending full-time is less than $6,000.

This year, second tier tuition isn’t expected to increase by more than $66 per semester for both residents and non-residents. That $66 would earn $2.5 million in funding for the university, which would have three different allocations.

$1 million would be dedicated to faculty compensation, strengthening support services and improving technology around campus. $800,000 would go toward promoting retention and enhancing the university experience. $700,000 would contribute to supporting key academic support programs and services on campus.

The legislative session ends on March 13, and the president’s cabinet will finalize the second tier tuition increase proposal on March 17. The Board of Regents will approve both tiers of tuition on March 28 and final tuition rates will be set that same day at Dixie State University.