Differences in undergraduate tuition leave some students wanting more bang for their buck

Emily Hernandez

Undergraduate students enrolled in McCombs School of Business, which has the highest tuition rate of the UT undergraduate colleges, pay about $750 and $2,600 more per semester for in-state and out-of-state tuition, respectively, than those enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts, which has the lowest tuition rate. 

Joey Williams, communications director in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, said the tuition differences between the colleges exist because each college offers their students different programs and resources. 

“McCombs, for example, might have more career service opportunities or different programs for students,” Williams said. “The cost of delivering the education to a student in McCombs might just be different because they know they need different equipment in their classrooms or whatnot.”

The dean of the college is responsible for deciding what kinds of resources to make available for students, Williams said. 

Marketing senior Wendi Liao, who pays in-state tuition, said she was surprised to learn McCombs was the most expensive school for UT undergraduates. She said despite the prestige associated with the McCombs name, she does not understand the higher price tag. 

“I don’t like that it’s the highest,” Liao said. “That does kind of sting a little bit because I think I paid the same amount even when I was taking most of my classes for my minor at Moody. Hearing (about) all the resources (my Moody friends) have, that’s pretty comparable. What is the extra $800 going towards?”

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Liao said she thinks recruitment by companies and networking opportunities are major standouts for McCombs. 

“It’s more about the brand to me,” Liao said. “It definitely fosters a more competitive environment, but I do feel like (McCombs doesn’t) really go out of their way in terms of resources and helping you out and stuff like that. It’s pretty much on average.”

Liao, whose minor is in communication studies, said she has been to both McCombs and Moody College of Communication’s advising offices, and her experiences sometimes surprise her.

“McCombs (doesn’t) necessarily do a better job,” Liao said. “Sometimes my experience has been actually the opposite where I’m surprised, and I would expect the business school to be a little better.”

McCombs is ranked the sixth best undergraduate business program by the U.S. News and World Report. McCombs had about a 20% acceptance rate this school year approximately 10% below the University-wide acceptance rate and 30% below COLA’s, Williams said. However, Williams said there is no correlation between tuition rates and acceptance rates.


Sociology sophomore Griffin Boutwell, who pays in-state tuition and is interested in pursuing law, said he is satisfied with the resources he has within COLA.

“They have career services, which is really nice, so they’ll help you search for internships and (postgraduate) opportunities,” Boutwell said. “They bring in law school recruiters from all over the country. I think it was about a month ago (when) they had Stanford Law people here, and they host big events and bring in speakers all the time, which is really cool.”