Voice

Hamilton announces new tuition Costs

New fees go into effect in 2012

FROM:     Mark Hamilton, President
RE:    Scheduled Tuition Adjustment Notice

This memorandum represents notice of the proposed inflation-adjusted tuition rates for AY2012 as required by Regents’ Policy.  The three-year Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) average for 2007, 2008, and 2009 (estimated) is approximately 4 percent.  The policy provides that the adjusted tuition rates will be deemed approved after the board’s first regular meeting following the subsequent November 1, “unless the board suspends implementation of the scheduled rate adjustment, or the university president notifies the board of an alternative recommendation, prior to that board meeting.” 

In September 2008, the board approved for AY2011 a 4 percent tuition increase for 100 to 200 level courses and a 7 percent increase for 300 to 400 level courses.  This year, I recommend continuing that strategy, which offers some relief to students enrolled in 100 to 200 level coursework, yet continues to provide revenues to meet university obligations.  Therefore, I propose a 5 percent tuition increase for 100 to 200 level courses and a 10 percent tuition increase for 300 to 400 level courses in AY2012 (fall 2011, spring 2012).  The net result is an average tuition rate increase of 7 percent, which continues the trend of moderating increases to students while generating a portion of the revenues necessary to fund academic programs within our 16-campus system.  The table on the next page reflects the already-approved AY2010 and AY2011 tuition rates and the proposed tuition increases for AY2012.

The Chancellors and I did discuss the need to review and adjust already approved tuition rates.  This was a prudent course given the state of the economy. To not have discussed this would have been an abdication of our responsibility as leaders at the University of Alaska.  However, after careful consideration, I do not propose a revision of previously approved tuition rates at this time.  I regard the already approved rates as a pact between the university and our students – one that I am not inclined to break.  Should exigent circumstances arise, I reserve the right to reopen discussions on previously set tuition.

Finally, please remember this notice does not signify the end of discussion and debate on tuition rates for AY2012.  It does, by contrast, serve as a catalyst for discussions going forward, leading up to the Board of Regents’ September 2009 meeting, when official action is expected.

Tuition increases are not a pleasant subject for higher education institutions, but they are indeed a necessary part of delivering the education and training needed. At the University of Alaska, we began a practice a number of years ago that seeks to avoid the last-minute nature of tuition increases witnessed at many other universities and colleges, where students in some cases leave a spring semester not knowing how much their tuition will be when they return in the fall. At UA, we engage in transparent discussions early. If financial circumstances worsen and previous actions must be revisited, we’ll engage in that process as early as possible, and with as much transparency as possible.

Please take the time to speak with your campus leadership, my staff or me directly if you have concerns or questions.

Thank you for your consideration.
 

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