LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider a 3.5 tuition increase for UAPB and a 5 percent increase for UAM in a two-day meeting this week.
If approved, tuition would increase from $5,753 to $5,956 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and from $5,793 to $6,082 at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
Meeting at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope on Wednesday and Thursday, the board will consider raising tuition and fees at all UA System schools to fund priorities such as a minimum 2 percent merit raise for faculty and efforts to improve retention and graduation rates, the UA System said Monday in a news release.
Under the proposed plan, tuition for the 2014-15 academic year would increase by 5 percent from the current $7,818 to $8,209 at the flagship campus in Fayetteville; by 6 percent from $5,624 to $5,962 at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith; and by 4.7 percent from $7,601 to $7,959 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander said he believes these raises in student tuition fees are an absolute necessity.
“The increases are necessary essentially because the price of doing business increases annually,” Alexander said. “The increases in tuition are designed to meet the needs of the students on an annual basis.
“The raise in costs will be only as much as is necessary to give our students a quality education.”
“The extra money students will be paying will go directly toward the cost of educating and developing those students,” Alexander said.
Alexander said he believes the raised tuition will be handled without an uproar from his students.
“I hope our students will be understanding. I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t be,” Alexander said. “I think our students are very bright and motivated, and these raises are a part of providing them with an education.”
At two-year colleges, tuition would increase:
—Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, by 5.4 percent from $2,212 to $2,332 for in-district students and by 5.4 percent from $2,512 to $2,647 for out-of-district students.
—Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, by 3.9 percent from $2,495 to $2,593 for in-district students and by 3.9 percent from $2,855 to $2,967 for out-of-district students.
—University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, by 4.4 percent from $2,700 to $2,820 for in-district students and by 4.4 percent from $3,060 to $3,195 for out-of-district students.
—University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, by 4.7 percent from $2,271 to $2,378 for in-district students and by 5.7 percent from $2,421 to $2,558 for out-of-district students.
—University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, by 4.1 percent from $3,290 to $3,425 for in-district students and by 3.9 percent from $3,500 to $3,635 for out-of-district students.
“Our institutions have made an effort to keep tuition increases as modest as possible and to focus specifically on the most pressing needs for continuing to provide a high-quality educational experience to our students across the system,” said UA System President Donald Bobbitt.
Arkansas ranks last among the 16 states in the Southern Regional Education Board in average faculty salaries at both two- and four-year schools.
“Our faculty have received only small salary increases during the recent economic recovery and we believe we must address this discrepancy so that we can recruit and retain high-quality faculty members in order to provide the best possible instruction and mentorship to our students,” Bobbitt said. “We must also continue to focus efforts on helping our students stay in school and be successful through advising, tutoring and other services.”
The four-year universities in the UA System are expecting to receive increases of less than 1 percent in state funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year, while state funding for the two-year colleges will remain flat.
The UA System said that while enrollment has increased at its four-year schools by more than 6,000 students since fiscal 2009, per-student state funding has fallen in that time from $6,904 to $6,020.