After the recent 2.6% tuition increase, President Vistasp Karbhari said the increases will provide strategic investments to support student success at UTA.
“These increases will provide strategic and important investments in support of the success of students at UTA,” Karbhari said. “Recruiting and retaining the best faculty and staff possible in support of our mission, and enhancing technology and infrastructure consistent with the needs of the campus.”
The UT System Board of Regents approved the increase on Nov. 14 for all UT academic institutions, and it will take effect in the 2021-2022 fiscal years. Karbhari said the increase was consistent with the Higher Education Price Index inflation adjustments for each year.
The index measures inflation in higher education and tracks educational cost drivers, according to Commonfund, an asset management firm. The organization issues the index every year, and it’s provided to educational institutions for free.
Chief Communications Officer Joe Carpenter said in an email that increased tuition funds would be dedicated to adding faculty to support student advising, retention, graduation and disability services. Funds will also be dedicated to technology and infrastructure upgrades across campus to provide a supportive learning environment.
Karbhari said he appreciated the Tuition Review Committee for their recommendations on how the university could prioritize allocations from the increase.
Student Body President Gavin Mitchell said the review committee consists of one student from each school, a parent representative, an alumni representative, a Staff Advisory Council representative, an undergraduate assembly representative, a faculty senate representative and himself.
He said the review committee discussed priorities such as more resources for the Office for Students with Disabilities, faculty recruitment and retention and investment in student programs, Mitchell said. He said tuition increases will help UTA remain competitive in hiring faculty.
“While I appreciate a lower number than what has sometimes been done in the past,” Mitchell said, “any increase in tuition is going [to] negatively affect students — bottom line.”
Before the item was passed by the board last week, Student Regent Daniel Dominguez said he wanted the UT institutions to be held accountable.
“I would like to see them reporting to the board what it is that they did with these increases,” Dominguez said.
Chairman Kevin Eltife said the UT System Financial Offices is in the process of making a five-year financial plan, which will be brought to the board at a later date. The plan will help the board and institutions look at future financial needs.
Political science junior Melanie Vo said she understood why tuition increases were needed as they helped the university grow. She said she wasn’t happy about it though because she didn’t know where the money was going.
Vo had attended a President’s Roundtable meeting in September as the president of the UTA Pre-Law Society. She said tuition increases were discussed during the meeting, specifically how the funds could be used.
Despite discussion about the increases, she felt details about where the money is going were too vague. She said tuition increases in the past have allocated money to scholarships for students and hiring faculty counselors and advisers.