UT System approves tuition increases, funding to rebuild Marine Science Institute

Maria Mendez

With newly approved tuition increases, UT students will face slightly higher tuition bills next fall.

The UT System Board of Regents, which governs all UT institutions, approved 2 percent tuition increases at UT-Austin for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years during a Monday meeting.

UT’s undergraduate in-state tuition, which totals about $5,200 per semester, will rise by $104 in the fall of 2018, and by another $106 in the fall of 2019. Tuition for non-resident undergraduates will increase by about $370 both years. In-state graduate students will pay roughly $95 more both years, while out-of-state graduate students will see increases of about $185 both years. Students currently under the Longhorn Fixed Tuition will not be affected.

In a unanimous vote, the Board approved the increases for UT-Austin along with tuition increases for all other UT universities and health institutions, which range from about 1 to 8 percent.

Before the vote, Steven Leslie, the UT System’s executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the increases are necessary for universities to address decreased state funding and inflation, which is currently estimated to be about 2 to 3 percent.

“Without the (tuition) revenue, the academic institutions face real challenges,” Leslie said. “(UT-Austin) needs more money if it’s going to compete with the very top tier.”

The tuition increases are expected to bring in an additional $13 million to UT-Austin each of the next two academic years, according to UT System documents. The additional revenue from tuition will help the University recruit and retain faculty members and repair buildings, labs and classrooms, UT President Gregory Fenves said in a Monday email to students.

After the tuition increases were announced on Monday, students took to social media to express concerns.

Mark Kilaghbian, who graduated last December from UT, said the new tuition increases troubled him because he personally felt the impact of previous increases in the fall of 2016 and 2017.

“I was out of state, so I felt the (increases) more than most,” Kilaghbian said. “Tuition will never go down, so it’s important to keep it low.”

Fenves and System leaders said UT will continue supporting students with financial need.

“An increase in the cost of education — no matter the amount — impacts the lives of UT students and families, especially those with financial need,” Fenves said in the email. “I, along with members of UT’s senior leadership, am committed to providing additional financial aid for the students who need it most.”

Forty percent of students receive financial aid at UT-Austin, Leslie said.

“Even with the tuition increases, records show the tuition and fees of the average student will be covered,” Leslie said during the meeting.

Facing similar budget constraints, the University of Houston, Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University have proposed or approved tuition increases of about 3 percent over the last academic year.

During the Monday meeting, the Board also approved rebuilding UT’s Marine Science Institute, which was impacted by Hurricane Harvey last fall, using $30,000,000 from System , insurance and FEMA funding.

Correction: A previous version of this story included a figure from the System showing 100 percent of tuition costs for students from families with incomes of $80,000 or less were covered with grants, scholarships and tuition waivers. Upon further examination, the Texan was told this figure does not apply to every UT student in that income bracket.