Since 2000, there has been a steady decrease in funding from the state pressuring the University to depend more heavily on designated tuition.
“We have been relying on designated tuition to provide for institutional needs such as faculty salaries and student services,” said Tony Matamoros, cost of education committee liaison for the Division of Enrollment and Student Services, “We must keep up with institutional needs and increasing the tuition and fees will help the University reach its ultimate goals.”
The tuition and fees will be used to hire additional faculty to meet the needs of the growing University population of more than 18,000 students and to reduce the student, faculty ratio to 20:1.
“The increase will help us acquire some of the projected 155 faculty members needed,” said Richard Wilson, assistant director of the budget office. “More funds will still be needed to provide what the University needs in narrowing the student, faculty ratio.”
The increased tuition and fees will also cover facility costs to better address the needs of faculty and students in offices and classrooms.
For students, this means a projected increase of $150 for 15 semester credit hours and $120 for 12 semester credit hours. With the increase, UTPA will still maintain one of the lowest costs of attendance in Texas, said Matamoros and provide financial assistance to University students who demonstrate a need.
“Our co-chair for the cost of education committee, Dr. (John) Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services, has stressed that while there are increases in tuition and fees, the University has set aside money to offset the increase for students in financial need,” Matamoros said. “One of our best examples is the UTPAdvantage Program.”
The UTPAdvantage Program pays for all tuition and fee expenses for an academic year if the student meets certain qualifications.
The Cost of Education Committee which is made up of 30 students, faculty, staff and community members, are encouraging the UTPA campus and parents to attend the forums and provide input about the designated tuition and fees increase. The student government association president and co-chair of the committee Rhaguveer Puttagunta, will present the preliminary recommendations to those in attendance, followed by a question and answer session to allow participants to voice comments and concerns.
“It is imperative for students to get involved,” said Puttagunta. “Our University is growing tremendously and increased fees would provide more faculty, smaller classes and newer facilities, so we really need input to make decisions like these.”
In addition, there will be an online public forum available to students, faculty and staff beginning Oct. 30 at www.utpa.edu/coec . You are, however, still encouraged to attend the public forums on campus. The forums on Nov. 9 and 10 will be held from noon - 1 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. The forum on Nov. 11 will be held from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Education Complex, Room EDCC 1.102.
For more information on the Cost of Education Committee and their proposals, visit http://www.utpa.edu/coec.