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Friday, October 31, 2003

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UT System News Media Advisory

U.T. System Launches Website to Inform Public About Tuition

A special website was launched on Thursday (October 30) by the University of Texas System to help inform students, parents, and other members of the public about tuition issues.

The website (http://www.utsystem.edu/news/tuition/) includes an explanation of the state's new tuition deregulation law, details about the process that the U. T. System and its 15 campuses are using to set tuition for 2004, information about financial aid, a section where people can express their opinions about the issues, links to national reports and news articles, and many other features.

Detailed proposals from U. T. System campuses for changes in tuition rates are due to the System administration on Saturday (November 1). The campus tuition proposals will be posted on the U. T. System tuition website on Monday (November 3) and will be available there for viewing or downloading.

Each campus that is considering increases in tuition has been conducting student forums and other activities to ensure broad participation in the process. Tuition proposals from campuses will be submitted to Chancellor Mark G. Yudof, who will forward them with recommendations to the Board of Regents, which is scheduled to make a decision about the proposals at a special meeting in Austin on November 18.

The Texas Legislature passed a law last spring that transfers authority for setting tuition from the Legislature to university governing boards.

"The new law gives us the flexibility to use tuition policy as a means to achieve strategic goals for our campuses such as increasing graduation rates, increasing access, retaining and recruiting superior faculty and will provide critical resources needed to maintain high-quality educational programs," Yudof said.

"The U. T. System has been taking steps since last summer to ensure that this new responsibility is exercised with the greatest degree of participation by students, faculty, and all other constituencies. The new website is part of a comprehensive effort to conduct an open and transparent process that encourages the public to participate and to stay fully informed about the issues."

The financial aid information on the website is particularly important, Yudof said, because it makes clear that, even with increases in tuition rates, a university education is within the financial reach of all Texans.

"Our goal is that no one be denied educational opportunity because of financial need," Yudof said. "Significant portions of any tuition increase approved by the Board of Regents will be set aside for scholarships and grants for students with financial need, and a wide range of other financial aid resources are available."

END

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