The official student newspaper at the University of Houston-Clear Lake

Tuition increases approved for 2014

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Part 1 of a 3-part series on college tuition in Texas

ANDREA THOMAS
THE SIGNAL

The UH System Board of Regents approved an increased tuition rate for UHCL at the Audit and Compliance Committee meeting Wednesday, Feb. 25.

The tuition increase will be effective in the fall 2014 semester. Undergraduate tuition will increase 4.9 percent and graduate tuition will increase 5.9 percent.

The funds generated by a tuition increase will be primarily used for: compensation increase, additional faculty for growing programs, financial support for the four-year initiative, separating Financial Aid from Student Services fees, and a nursing program.

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“[The increase in] tuition and fees will fund a number of things,” UHCL President William Staples said. “Tuition only partially supports our transition from an upper-level to a four-year institution; we have received gifts, money from Houston Endowment, which is a foundation to support our transition to a four-year university. We’ve made reallocation of funds within the university from some areas to other areas in support of the transition, so tuition and fees is funding a number of things.”

Staples said that Student Services fees will not be going up, and students will no longer have to pay a Student ID fee or a Writing Center fee because of the funds freed up by separating Financial Aid from Student Services. Student Services fees will now cover costs for IDs and the Writing Center.

In 2013, an undergraduate resident student taking 12 hours paid, on average, $2,728 per semester. The increased percentage will result in about $18 more per semester starting in the fall, which is about $1.50 more per credit hour.

As of fall 2013, Staples said tuition rates at UHCL ranks No. 26 out of 38 public universities in Texas, one being the most expensive and 38 being the least expensive.

“We still think we are a very good cost for the education our students are getting,” Staples said.

The 4.9 percent undergraduate increase is 1 percent higher than approved by last year’s Student Government Association (SGA). Nov. 19, 2013, students who attended the SGA meeting voted in favor of a 3.9 percent undergraduate tuition increase.

The vote from students came after Staples attended the Nov. 5 SGA meeting and presented the reasons why UHCL administrators felt an increase in tuition was needed.

The change from the originally proposed tuition fee is due to an adjustment made in the compensation section. The 3.9 percent increase did not allow for additional compensation for adjunct instructors.

“You want to recruit and retain faculty and staff, both full-time and part-time faculty, and part of that is reflectedin compensation,” Staples said.

Many adjunct instructors will be required to come to campus more frequently with the arrival of freshman and sophomore classes, which are offered multiple days a week, and will require more travel time and expense.

“I have a good feeling that students are still OK with [the increase] because of the addition of adjunct compensation as well as funding for a brand new bachelor of science degree in nursing.”
–CARLA BRADLEY, SGA PRESIDENT

“Now that the original tuition and fee increase has been inflated slightly, I have a good feeling that students are still OK with it because of the addition of adjunct compensation as well as funding for a brand new bachelor of science degree in nursing,” said SGA President Carla Bradley. “To have a quality education, you need the best faculty and staff.”

During the 2013 Legislature session, UHCL was denied start-up funding for its four-year initiative from the state. Staples said the “plan is to go back in the January 2015 Legislature session to request funding.”

UH-Victoria experienced the same thing when it transitioned to a four-year university. It was denied start-up funding initially, but once the transition was set in place, the university’s second request was granted.

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