University announces proposal for tuition increase
A&M-Commerce will propose a tuition increase of $8.32 or $10 per semester credit hour for the 2013 fiscal year to the Board of Regents, pending approval by President Dr. Dan Jones.
The announcement was first made public at a tuition hearing yesterday and also includes a potential second increase that will not exceed $10 per credit hour for the 2014 fiscal year. Currently, it is only a proposal and requires approval from the Texas A&M System Board of Regents and Chancellor. That decision could come as late as May.
Vice President for Business and Administration Bob Brown presented the hearing. He said a $10 per credit hour increase would raise about $2.1 million that the university will use for campus facility improvements and to retain and recruit faculty.
"Now is the time to recruit faculty from other institutions, and we're having some good success at that," Brown said. "We believe by being able to invest in faculty and continuing to be able to pay those here reasonably well, that you will have the best faculty in front of you teaching and the best faculty researchers that we can get."
He also said the university is hoping to make any potential building improvements, additions and maintenance in the immediate future while costs remain relatively stable. Brown said the anticipated cost in this area is around $500,000.
"There is a need to continue to accelerate the maintenance of our buildings," Brown said. "We believe going forward, the state and the university are going to have a hard time finding money for big capital projects. So, it behooves us to spend more money now to maintain and upgrade facilities we have."
The university also wants to increase the number of class sections by using adjunct professors and provide more financial assistance to students.
The state legislature urged colleges to not exceed a 3.95 percent increase in tuition in response to the economy and state cuts. At this limit, A&M-Commerce would be stuck at the $8.32 per credit hour increase. However, Brown said Chancellor John Sharp could give the university more leeway, as A&M-Commerce has one of the lowest tuition rates in the A&M System.
The average 15 hour per semester student at A&M-Commerce pays $3,142 when compared to other state institutions. This is below the state average of $3,602.
Brown said there is no plan for any referenda that would increase student fees, but there could be in the future. If passed, these fees would add to the already increased tuition rates, but no fees will take effect until the 2014 fiscal year.
"There is a possibility that we will approach the appropriate student boards that have to originate from student government," he said, "about the possibility of a referendum for a student health center fee. There's a discussion about a transportation fee for students who live on campus or close to campus."
The presentation also highlighted the current initiatives being undertaken by A&M-Commerce, such as the continued increase in enrollment and the new nursing program that is pending approval by the state's Board of Nursing.
"We anticipate twelve-thousand students next Fall, and have added classes to accommodate growth," Brown said. "The university has not stopped; it is marching forward."
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