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UA Board of Trustees approves tuition increase

Andy McWhorter

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The University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved a four percent increase in tuition for University of Alabama students in a meeting Friday.

The board approved a $188 per semester tuition increase for full-time, in-state undergraduate students, as well as a $500 per semester increase for out-of-state students. Tuition at the University will now cost $4,913 per semester for in-state students and $12,475 for out-of-state students. Law School students will also see their tuition increase by $275 per semester for in-state students and $580 for out-of-state students.

Tuition costs at The University of Alabama have more than doubled since 2005, when tuition cost $2,432 per semester for in-state students. However, growth in tuition costs has started to slow in recent years. Tuition rose by about 2.7 percent last year and 3.9 percent this year for in-state student. From 2005 to 2012, tuition grew by an average of 9 percent per year.

Ray Hayes, executive vice chancellor for finance and operations for The University of Alabama System, said the increased cost of tuition was caused by lower-than-expected growth in state funding. Hayes said state funding for the system is projected to grow by about two percent over the next few years, falling short of some expenses.

“We’ve got a lot of expenses, particularly health benefits and those expenses that are growing in excess of seven percent,” he said. “There are just some things that we can’t control.”

The allocation for The University of Alabama System in the Education Trust Fund grew by one percent this year, from about $450 million to just over $455 million. According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-profit think tank, Alabama has cut nearly 38 percent from spending on higher education since 2008. This translates to a $4,413 decrease in spending per student in the state as a whole.

Hayes said the increased tuition will go towards maintaining the standards of quality students at The University of Alabama expect.

“There are new classrooms planned and additional faculty support, additional support to the students,” he said. It’s balancing trying to be as efficient and effective as possible and keep our tuition as low as possible, but trying to provide the quality of education students here expect. It’s a balancing act.”

Tuition costs also rose at The University of Alabama at Birmingham by $188 per semester for in-state students and $413 for out-of-state students. Tuition costs at The University of Alabama at Huntsville were decreased because of restructuring in their tuition payment plan. Hayes said The University of Alabama has already made similar changes to their payment plan.

“What UAH is doing is what UA already has,” he said. “If you take 12 hours then that extra hour, [it] is at the same level as the 12 hours, called block tuition. University of Alabama at Huntsville was not doing that. In other words, you’re at 12 hours and if you take a 13th hours it’s an additional payment. So they’re restructuring to be more like The University of Alabama.”

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UA Board of Trustees approves tuition increase