The tuition increase proposed for the University of Alaska system is unwarranted. While most people can understand and appreciate the fact that the proposed 2 percent increase is the lowest in ten years, what can’t be understood is why the increase is necessary.
Pat Gamble, University of Alaska President, is correct in saying that the increases in tuition still put Alaska in the running for some of the most affordable tuition in the western region. But it pretty much has to be in order to exist.
An online search revealed that the University of Alaska system, a public institution, and Alaska Pacific University, a private institution, are the only two universities in the state.
The western region Gamble is referring to encompasses big, historically expensive universities such as the University of Southern California, charging about $21,081 per semester for a full-time undergraduate student, and Boise State University in Idaho, charging almost $10,000 a semester for a full-time undergraduate student.
Of course these larger campuses have more expensive tuition than UAA!
Also, a national hot topic right now is public education funding.
Most states being forced to raise tuition are battling budget cuts caused by severely decreased state funding.
The UA system is lucky. For the past ten years, the state has annually increased the amount of money it gives to the system.
Yet, tuition still rises.
Surely there must be a way to cut expenditures another way and leave tuition alone for at least one year.
University officials found a way to fund a new sports complex center at UAA (costing $109,000,00) and keep their salaries fat (Gamble has a baseline salary of $295,000 per year and Chancellor Thomas Case has a baseline salary of $225,000) but not a way to prevent tuition from increasing?
It seems like the opportunity to keep tuition from increasing is available, just not acted upon.