UT System Board of Regents approve guaranteed tuition plan, no increase for in-state undergraduate tuition

Jacob Kerr

The UT System Board of Regents decided not to increase in-state undergraduate tuition and approved the University’s guaranteed tuition plan at a meeting Tuesday.

With the decision, the board authorized Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to find alternative sources of recurring revenue for System institutions to account for the lack of in-state tuition increases.

Cigarroa said he will work with other System officials to “identify other means of supporting our campuses in a recurrent manner."

Cigarroa's plans will be presented to the board in August.

Chairman Paul Foster said he felt both the guaranteed plan and the decision not to increase in-state tuition will benefit students.

“I think this is an important step,” Foster said, “Both in terms of establishing a fixed four-year tuition option at each one of our campuses as well as holding the line on increases. I think both send the right message to our students and our campuses.”

On May 14, the board approved a 2.6 percent increase for out-of-state undergraduate students at the University. The out-of-state increase goes into effect beginning in the fall 2014 semester. At the meeting, UT President William Powers Jr. and Andrew Clark, former Senate of College Councils president, presented a plan to increase the University’s in-state undergraduate tuition by 2.13 percent. Shortly after the presentation, the regents decided to hold off the in-state discussion until Tuesday.

After Tuesday's meeting, UT spokesman Gary Susswein said the University will work with the System to find alternative recurring revenue sources.

“We’re looking forward to working with the chancellor and the chairman in order to identify those recurring funds that are needed to maintain excellence at UT,” Susswein said.

With the regents’ decision, the University will now offer a guaranteed plan for the first time in its history. Along with the Texas Legislature in 2013,  the regents required each System institution to offer a guaranteed plan beginning with the fall 2014 semester.

The University’s guaranteed plan beginning in fall 2014 will be set at 8 percent over the fall 2013 traditional cost. In fall 2015, the guaranteed plan will be set at 4 percent over the fall 2014 guaranteed plan cost. The University will also offer a $3,500 rebate to guaranteed plan students who graduate in four years.

Despite the decision not to increase in-state tuition for the upcoming school year, Foster said the guaranteed plan will be attractive for some students, because traditional plan tuition could rise in the future.

“We’re not saying that our undergraduate rates will be fixed for four years at flat,” Foster said. “So, presumably, there will still be some students who would opt for the four year fixed in order to make sure they know exactly what their costs are going to be.”