The Utah State Board of Regents has recently announced a two-tier increase in tuition for all state-funded colleges and universities the 2009-2010 school year.

University spokesperson Chris Taylor said the total dollar amount to increase for UVU students based on full-time enrollment is $276 for an entire school year or $138 per semester.

“Sometimes it helps to think of the tuition setting in Utah like a layer cake,” said Linda Makin, UVU executive director of planning and budgets. “There are two layers to the cake — the first is set by the Utah State Board of Regents and is the same at each institution. The second tier is recommended by the institutions’ for approval by the Regents but varies based on the institution needs, priorities, etc. The two tiers combined comprise the entire tuition increase.”

According to a press release issued by the Utah State Board of Regents, the first tier increase is set at 1 percent and the second tier will increase by 7.7 percent.

Makin said that generally the first tier increase is used as part of the funding for compensation increases approved by the legislature. “However, for the 2009-10 year, there was no compensation increase approved by the legislature,” she said.

Taylor added that half of the first tier increase will go to the Regents’ Scholarships and the other half to the critical needs at each institution.

“The second tier increase will generate $3,676,800,” Makin said. “$2,716,800 will be used to reduce the programmatic impact of the tax fund reduction; $710,00 will be used to support UVU’s strategic directions of engaged learning, community engagement, university student experience, and resource development and efficiencies; and $250,000 will be used for operational initiatives including technology, risk management, student services, and advising.”

“The vast majority of the increase will help offset the programmatic impact of the budget cuts imposed on UVU due to the slumping economy,” Taylor said. “Given our current budget situation, we have tried to implement as moderate of an increase as possible.”

Joseph Watkins, current student body president, said “No student, including myself, likes the sound of tuition increases. This is a hard time for the students in the state of Utah, with rising tuition rates, and falling state funding. There is a budget shortfall through, and the holes need to be filled.”

“Tuition is very much a balancing act, especially this year with the down economy,’ added Taylor. “We don’t want to price students out of higher education, but students also don’t want to see the quality of their education take a dramatic hit, nor do we.”