Regents approve new tuition proposal

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Regents approve new tuition proposal

Texas State students walk to and from classes Nov. 4 near the Lyndon Baines Johnson statue. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Texas State students walk to and from classes Nov. 4 near the Lyndon Baines Johnson statue. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Texas State students walk to and from classes Nov. 4 near the Lyndon Baines Johnson statue. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Jaden Edison

Texas State students walk to and from classes Nov. 4 near the Lyndon Baines Johnson statue. Photo credit: Jaden Edison

Sandra Sadek

A new proposal was approved by the Texas State University System’s Board of Regents Nov. 14 to reflect suggestions from the Texas State Legislature.

The new proposal for the student body would increase overall tuition by 2.6% for the next two academic years—fall 2020 and fall 2021—as opposed to the original Nov. 5 proposal to increase tuition by 3.95%.

Changes were made to the original proposal less than a week before the Nov. 14 vote, according to Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Marketing & Communications Mike Wintemute.

front page of tuition proposal

Student service fees—which pay for activities involving or directly benefiting students and are separate from regularly scheduled academic functions—will not be receiving increased funding as originally proposed. Student service fees are generated from the number of hours a student takes each semester. Students are charged $10 per student credit hours and up to $90 per semester.

According to Assistant Vice President of Budgeting, Financial Planning and Analysis Christine Black, the request for a revision came from the TSUS.

Wintemute said state leadership was concerned about increasing the rate of tuition across multiple university systems and recommended the 2.6% increase. This would in line with the Higher Education Price Index, an inflation index designed to help higher education institutions plan their budget.

“It is not unusual for state leaders, whether it’s members of the legislature, the governor or the lieutenant governor to reach out to governing boards and express (concern) about tuition increases,” Wintemute said. “My understanding is that happened again this year and the university system agreed to keep the tuition increase at the rate of inflation.”

Within the new proposal that was approved, student service fees will not be receiving any increased funding.

“I believe it was a matter of priorities and being able to do the most (good) with the limited resources that we are going to be having at our disposal,” Black said. “I do think (the university is) still trying to look at ways to enhance the services the student service fee helps to fund, possibly through other means.”

Other means of funding would include alternative revenue resources the university might utilize to support operations currently funded by student service fees, Black said.

The new tuition includes differential tuition for the McCoy College of Business Administration and the College of Engineering and Science. Differential tuition is a variation in college tuition based on a selected major. Both colleges will have a $10 increase in its tuition for fall 2020 and a $20 increase for fall 2021.

According to Student Body President Corey Benbow, the $90 student service fee has been the maximum capacity for the last 15 years and the fees received a 13% cut earlier in 2019.

“The student service fee really goes to fund everything as far as tangible student services that students seek,” Benbow said. “If you look across the board, we have the lowest student service fee out of all the component institutions in the Texas State (University) System and of any institution this side of the state.”

Students benefitting from the Hazelwood Act are exempted from paying those fees. The Hazlewood Act is a Texas law mandating 150 hours of tuition fees be waived for veterans and their dependents; Texas State waived $20 million of tuition in 2018.

The 13% cut to the student service fee was caused by a decrease in enrollment and registered credit hours which created a deficit of $400,000, according to Benbow.

The largest drivers for higher education funding is through increased enrollment. Other strategies include increasing state appropriations or increasing the formula rate for higher education funding.

The Texas State Legislature will reconvene January 2021. More information about the breakdown of tuition can be found on the Student Business Services website.

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