At a University of Texas Regents meeting in Galveston on Wednesday, the Academic Affairs Committee report indicated an across-the-board tuition hike for schools; including a proposed 4.5% increase for UTEP each year, for the next two years.
As first reported by the Texas Tribune, University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven stated that “most of the eight universities under his authority collect less tuition than their peers and need to raise rates to remain competitive.” Last October, the UT System’s Board instructed all schools to come up with proposals for increasing tuition and fees for the next two to four years.
According to the AAC report, for a resident undergraduate student, the proposed hike would cost $163 more than 2015 rates – an increase of 4.5%; tuition would again go up 4.5% for Fall of 2017. The report goes on to state, “36% of resident undergraduate students currently receive aid in excess of tuition and fee amounts. Proposed tuition increases would not change the percent of the population that has tuition and fees fully covered through grants and scholarships”
Since the hike is greater than 2%, individual universities must allocate that extra money to areas they designate as ‘key institutional priorities.’ The report states that UTEP has designated the following area as priorities:
(1) Student Success: U. T. El Paso students have identified allocations for targeted priorities including advising, tutoring, internships, on-campus employment, and mentoring. U. T. El Paso is nationally recognized for developing innovative support strategies for the 21st century student demographic, data-informed programs designed to target needs of first-generation and low-income student population.
(2) Faculty Recruitment and Retention: U. T. El Paso plans to conduct highly intentional faculty hiring in areas of strategic priorities, to leverage strengths and increase interdisciplinary collaboration. The average Tenure/Tenure-Track faculty salary is currently the third lowest of emerging research institutions in Texas.
(3) Graduate Teaching Assistants: U. T. El Paso plans to address compensation levels for doctoral students to maintain fairness and competitiveness.
(4) Technology Enhancements: Demand for enhanced technology support is tied closely with student success and faculty support and includes expanded mobile device support, virtualized software, and system backup for research computing.
Last year, UTEP officials had several forums to discuss the proposed tuition increases. At that time, officials said the increase could be anywhere between 2 and 5 percent.
UT Regents now have to vote on the system-wide hike later this spring.