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Thursday, May 3, 2012

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UT System Regents Approve Tuition and Fee Rates, Mitigate Increase for Resident Undergraduate Students

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents took an unprecedented step today to pay The University of Texas at Austin $13.2 million in lieu of resident undergraduate tuition and fee increases proposed by the campus and UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., for the next two years.

In addition, the Board also allocated $16 million over the next two years to the UT System with instructions to Chancellor Cigarroa that the UT System allocate these funds in such a way that the eight other UT academic institutions can effectively eliminate or greatly reduce proposed tuition and fee increases for the next two years.

UT Austin constitutionally is the only institution of the nine UT academic institutions that can receive Available University Fund money to fund excellence in its operations. However, the UT System can use AUF money in certain circumstances, such as for capital projects at the other eight institutions and to have the UT System pay certain expenses. These approaches will be used to minimize the tuition and fee rate increases.

The out of state undergraduate tuition and fee increases proposed by Chancellor Cigarroa were approved for the next two years at all nine academic institutions. The tuition and fee increases for the graduate and professional degree programs recommended by Chancellor Cigarroa for all nine UT academic institutions were approved for one year by the Board.

The Board’s action to pay for the nine academic institution’s resident undergraduate tuition and fee rate increases recognizes the current difficult economic climate for students and their families and is intended to provide the nine universities with short-term financial assistance.

“The Board of Regents feels strongly that the resident undergraduate students enrolled at our institutions should not bear the burden of an increase in tuition and fee rates, and the Board has been able to identify additional financial resources to offset any increase while the campuses implement Chancellor Cigarroa’s Framework,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “As the campuses begin to implement cost saving initiatives aimed at bending the cost curve down, the Board is confident the academic institutions will be able to successfully minimize or completely offset any increase in costs to resident undergraduate students and their families in the future.”

Powell also stated that this is a rare opportunity to allocate additional AUF to UT Austin and to the UT System to benefit its other eight academic institutions and assist undergraduate resident students by lessening the burden of tuition on students and families for the next two years.

“We cannot forecast that these funds will continue to be available and no one should count on these funds for more than two years,” said Powell.

The additional financial resources identified by the Board are the result of an increase in revenue generated from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) through effective stewardship of oil, gas, and mineral interests by the UT System West Texas Lands Office, coupled with prudent investment decisions by The University of Texas Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO).

Four of the six UT health science centers proposed tuition and fee rate increases. Those increases were approved by the Board and will not exceed more than 3.6 percent. 

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