Tuition hike expected in light of oncoming state cuts

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Students here pay among the lowest tuition rates in the nation compared to other universities. That will still be the case next year, but the rates themselves will increase anywhere from four to nine percent ($73-$165 per semester), according to the school’s latest tuition proposal, issued Thursday, Feb. 17.

The tuition hike is, according to President Holland, a necessary measure made by the state legislature’s planned cuts within their higher education budget. Such a move is, Holland said, the opposite of what the university needs.

“The challenge is the state doesn’t want to give us money. They want to cut,” Holland said at the truth in tuition hearing.

The amount the state is likely to cut back is 7 percent, or $4.3 million. That proposal falls under “first tier tuition,” a set of financial decisions that lay within the state’s power of judgment.

UVU’s proposal is under “second tier tuition,” the tuition plan individual schools make after the state’s decision. Given the expected cut from state legislature, the university has to look to other sources to make up for the shortage, in this case, the students.

“We can’t afford to be cut anymore,” Holland said. “We can’t cut faculty. I think we’re one of the leanest institutions in the state.”

The lean financial state directly contrasts the school’s leap in growth over the past six years. Due to that growth, the school would like to bring in more faculty to accommodate the increasingly large student body. Instead, they are faced with trying to save what faculty they have in the face of a decreasing budget.

According to Holland, the school’s professors have not received raises of any sort over the past three years. While their wages have remained static, their medical insurance premiums are going to increase.

The situation is less than ideal for college professors, who may look elsewhere for more financially secure settings, leaving UVU too few teachers overall and settling for adjunct teachers.

“Many of our adjuncts are very fine teachers, but they don’t come with the latest training and experience,” Holland said. “We need more salaried, full-time, Ph.D-credentialed faculty.”

With the state taking away money to gain such faculty, the responsibility will lie on students to help provide for them.

When asked what difference it would make to students who attend classes, go straight home and never see the backstage workings of the college, Holland laid out what would happen if tuition rates remained the same.

“If we just cut and we don’t have any way to compensate for that, then we would, say, have to let some people go in One Stop, or we’d have to cut out a program, or we would have to draw back on the employment center,” Holland said.

Holland followed that by stating the consequences of such actions. Longer waits at One-Stop, the unavailability of classes needed to graduate due to faculty shortages, lack of staff to help students with financial aid and a malcontent faculty were chief among them.