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University holds hearing for proposed tuition increases, will vote in November

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Article Originally Published by Alex Reece on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by Alex Reece on North Texas Daily

The university held a public hearing to discuss a recently proposed tuition increase, citing soaring inflation, employee turnovers and retention struggles as the cause.

“We haven’t raised our tuition in four years,” university President Neal Smatresk said. “This year we’ll have a modest proposal.”

Under the proposal, fall 2022 tuition rates would increase by $5.89, raising it to $236 per semester credit hour for an undergraduate student taking a full course load. Another $6.00 increase is planned for the fall 2023 semester, creating an additional $90 cost for full-time undergraduate students per semester.

In total, over the two years, undergraduate tuition would increase $11.89 per credit hour instead of an originally proposed $12.00.

“That equates, for an undergraduate taking a full course load, to [an additional] $88 per semester,” said Chris Foster, assistant vice president for Student Financial Services.

For graduate students, tuition would increase by $10.21 per semester credit hour in fall 2022 to a total of $238. In fall 2023, a proposal of an additional $10 per credit hour would create a total of $248.

“The increase would allow us to grow our graduate programs and support our graduate programs,” Foster said.

Starting in fall 2022, all non-resident students, both undergraduate and graduate, will be charged an incremental increase. Non-residents would have an additional $20 per semester credit hour which would grow to $40 per semester credit hour in fall 2023.

“If implemented, UNT’s rate will be the lowest across all Texas institutions,” Foster said.

The university has kept the undergraduate board tuition rate constant since the fall 2017 semester. Graduate tuition has also remained constant since 2013 with small incremental increases in fall 2018 and 2019. Compared to other Texas universities, the newest increase proposal is minimal, Smatresk said.

“The benchmark increase in tuition at other institutions […] will be 3-5 percent,” Smatresk said. “We’re well below that.”

The university would invest the additional funds back into the staff to keep up a healthy student-faculty ratio.

In addition to maintaining staff and improving academic programs, more than 15 percent of profits from each of the tuition increases are planned to be set aside for need-based scholarships and programs.

“We want to provide scholarships and salary support for the hardworking employees who are here,” Smatresk said.

Another $6.00 increase is planned for the fall 2023 semester, creating an additional $90.00 cost for full-time undergraduate students per semester.

For graduate students, tuition would increase by $10.21 per semester credit hour in fall 2022 to $238.00. In fall 2023, a proposal of an additional $10 per credit hour would create a total of $248.00.

“The increase would allow us to grow our graduate programs and support our graduate programs,” Foster said.

Starting in fall 2022, all non-resident students both undergraduate and graduate will be charged an incremental increase. Non-residents would have an additional $20.00 per semester credit hour which would grow to $40.00 per semester credit hour in fall 2023.

“If implemented, UNT’s rate will be the lowest across all Texas institutions,” Foster said.

The increasing rates would be on a per-credit-hour basis in addition to existing tuition rates for undergraduate and graduate students.

“We’re trying to keep our school as affordable as possible,” Smatresk said. “But we’ve got to pay the electric bills, we’ve got to pay the gas bills, the energy bills, the construction costs, the food costs.”

Student Government Association President and emergency administration planning senior Devon Skinner attended the hearing and hopes students pay attention to possible future changes if the proposal is approved.

Only three students attended the hearing, including Skinner and the North Texas Daily reporter. The other student was another SGA member. All three are seniors, meaning no student who will be affected by the proposed tuition increases was present.

“It’s very important to know what’s going on and to make sure you understand what the difference is so you can plan accordingly for future years, if [the proposal] proceeds,” Skinner said.

Skinner is planning a future SGA senate meeting to address more questions students could have about the increases.

The new rates will not go into effect until the Board of Regents meeting in November, where the board will vote on the proposal. If approved, all changes will be made clear to incoming freshman and returning students to promote transparency and allow them to plan ahead financially, according to university officials.

Featured Image: Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Services Chris Foster speaks to students after the Tuition Town Hall on Oct. 19, 2021. Photo by John Anderson

Source: North Texas Daily

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