Board of Curators discusses possible tuition and supplemental fees increases

The curators discussed differential tuition as an alternative to imposing supplemental fees for individual schools and colleges at their meeting Thursday.

Students may see a tuition increase and higher supplemental fees next year, according to a plan proposed at Thursday’s UM System Board of Curators meeting.

Both resident and nonresident tuition rates could rise by 2.1 percent — the amount allowed by a state law that caps in-state tuition to the Consumer Price Index. The curators will not vote on the official tuition rates until next month after the state legislature passes the final 2018 fiscal year budget.

Higher per-credit-hour supplemental fees will be levied in the College of Business and the College of Engineering to bring in more revenue to those programs. The increase in supplemental fees is estimated to bring in a total of $1.1 million in additional revenue to the university. The board will also vote on the proposed supplemental fees increase next month.

The curators proposed a 9.5 percent increase in supplemental fees for undergraduate courses in the College of Business, which would increase the amount by $8 per credit hour to bring the fee to $92.60 per credit hour. For the College of Engineering, a 6 percent increase was proposed to cover facility and research costs. The fee per credit hour will rise to $98.10.

Per-credit-hour fees are a way in which individual schools and colleges raise revenue for their programming. These fees do not appear on students’ tuition estimates and can be an unexpected addition to tuition bills for students.

As an alternative to levying supplemental fees for different majors, curators discussed the possibility of moving to a differential tuition system, which would set higher rates for some majors.

Curators cited the tuition structures of universities like Purdue and Arizona State, both of which have some form of differential tuition systems, as examples of potential models to be adopted by the UM System.

Although this pricing system would hold individual students accountable for the cost of their specific program, rather than subsidizing the cost across all enrolled undergraduates, some curators expressed concern that the system could “price out” qualified students from enrolling in certain programs — a concern that has been echoed by some students when asked about differential tuition.

The curators may make a decision about changing the tuition structure at their September meeting.

The meeting will continue Friday, when the board is scheduled to wrap up public discussion topics and go into executive session.

Edited by Kyle LaHucik |

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