Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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UT System Board of Regents allocations reduce 2013 tuition and fees

AUSTIN - Resident undergraduate students at The University of Texas System’s nine academic campuses will see little to no increase in their 2013 fall tuition thanks to an unprecedented approach by the Board of Regents to reduce the burden of rising tuition and fee costs on students.

The Board approved tuition increases at eight of the UT System’s nine institutions last May, but also allocated $16 million from the Available University Fund (AUF) with a goal of using that money for necessary projects so the tuition increases would not have to be implemented or could be mitigated.

The Board did not approve a tuition increase at The University of Texas at Austin, but instead allocated $13.2 million to the university from the AUF to offset tuition and fee increases for 2013 and 2014.

“The Board is focused on the goals of the Chancellor’s Framework for Excellence, and two of the major tenets of the Framework are accessibility to higher education and affordability,” Regents Chairman Gene Powell said. “As part of our efforts under the Framework for Excellence the Board is committed to ensuring that we minimize the burden of ever-escalating fees and tuition for all our students at all our institutions.” 

Constitutionally, UT Austin is the only institution allowed to receive AUF money to fund excellence in its operations. However, the UT System can use AUF money in certain circumstances, such as for capital projects at its institutions and to pay for some systemwide contracts. Using this approach, UT System worked with academic institutions to utilize the AUF in a way that would alleviate or eliminate tuition and fee increases at all the eight other academic institutions for fall 2013.

Through a combination of cost savings initiatives that are part of Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa’s Framework for Advancing Excellence and the $16 million from the AUF, UT Systems institutions were overall able to hold the line on tuition expenses for 2013.

In addition to UT Austin, resident undergraduate students at UT Arlington, UT Permian Basin and UT Tyler will see no increase in their tuition for fall 2013. Tuition and fees at UT Brownsville, UT El Paso, UT Pan American and UT San Antonio will increase, but at a fraction of the rate approved by the Board last May. Tuition at UT Dallas will increase by 2.93 percent, largely because that campus is offering a four-year guaranteed tuition for incoming freshmen. Guaranteed tuition protects students from tuition hikes for the four years it should take them to finish their degree.

View the complete list of actual increases in tuition at the nine academic institutions that will be presented at Wednesday’s Board meeting.

“Mitigating costs for resident undergraduate students at our institutions is a priority for UT System and the Board of Regents,” Scott Kelley, Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs said.  “The Board was able to successfully identify a strategy and additional financial resources that will alleviate the pressure of tuition increases on students and their families for the next two years.”

The additional financial resources identified by the Board were 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).

“We are very proud of the work being done in this area by Executive Vice Chancellor Scott Kelley and his very talented staff and the Board will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to hold down the cost of higher education in Texas,” Powell said. 

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals annually. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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