Tuition increases continue at UAA, funds are needed

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In April 2010, UA President Mark Hamilton proposed a 5 percent increase for lower division classes. This proposal was passed and will take affect in Fall 2011.

Currently, lower division classes cost $154 per credit hour, upper division classes cost $187 per credit, graduate classes cost $372 per credit and non-resident’s pay $388.

On Sept. 23 and 24, the Board of Regents (BOR) will meet to discuss a proposed 10- or 12-percent increase. If this proposal is to go through, it will affect undergraduate tuition, along with the non-resident surcharge.

With a 10 percent increase, lower division classes will increase by $16, upper division classes will increase by $19. The non-resident surcharge will increase by $39.

A 12 percent increase will cause lower division classes to increase by $19, and upper division classes will become $22. The non-resident surcharge will become $47.

In either situation, graduate classes will remain the same at $372.

Peter Finn, Coalition of Students spokesperson, along with other members, will give a 30 minute presentation regarding their concerns on the purposed tuition increase to the BOR at their upcoming meeting. The presentation will also include USUAA President Miles Brookes.

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“Do we want tuition rates to increase? No,” Brookes said. “But, if it’s what we need to keep the University going, then it has to be done. We are hoping that we can settle on 7 percent, a decent compromise from both sides.”

There will be a chance for public testimony. Each individual will have three minutes to comment. Written comments are welcome as well.

“We encourage students to send positive comments in,” Brookes said.

Without a tuition increase, programs needed to fulfill Alaska’s graduates will not get the necessary amount of funding. The university may have to close important programs and services that students depend on regularly.

UAA only receives roughly one-third of the amount of tuition necessary to deliver the proper education to a student, according to UAA Student Financial Assistance.

“A tuition increase will have short term and long term effects,” Brookes said. “With a tuition increase, more students will potentially need student loans.”

UAA has given $52 million in financial aid already this year.

With the 5 percent increase, Pell Grants are to increase in the 2011-12 school year to $5,500 from the current $5,350.

“The long term effect for the students is a student who has a reasonable loan could increase in interest to a couple thousand by the time they are able to pay it back,” Brookes said. “The goal, however, is that they get degrees and are able to pay back the loan with the money they wouldn’t be able to make without the degree.”

We may lose a few students, but we need a tuition increase to keep the University afloat, Brookes stated.

Even with the proposed tuition increase, 44 states will still have higher tuition rates than UAA.

Alaska has one of the highest resident tuition rates in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

If you have comments about the proposed increase, send them to sybor@alaska.edu. This e-mail address will send your comment to all of the board members. The comments will be reviewed following the meeting.

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