UT System raises undergraduate tuition by 2.6% per year for next 2 academic years

Areeba Amer

UT System academic institutions, including UT-Austin, will increase their undergraduate tuition by 2.6% per year for the next two academic years.

The UT System Board of Regents announced the systemwide increase during its meeting Thursday. UT System Chancellor James Milliken said the increase is set to match the 2.6% inflation rate.

“It has become increasingly clear that to maintain…affordability, high quality and cost containment, but also to do in a way that we are providing the best notice possible and the most time for students and their families to plan, that this ought to be taken up as soon as the board is ready,” Milliken said.

Current resident full-time UT-Austin undergraduate tuition averages around $5,440 per semester and will increase by an average of $143 a semester for the 2020 academic year and by $146 for the 2021 academic year, according to the UT Tuition website. 

UT-Austin tuition increases will apply to resident and nonresident undergraduate students, according to the UT Tuition website. A portion of the increased revenue will provide additional funding for student success, student mental health services and expanded technology and internet on campus, UT president Gregory Fenves said in a campuswide email. 

“At UT, we are committed to living up to our constitutional charge to be a university of the first class,” Fenves said in the email. “That means balancing affordability with the costs of delivering high quality education at one of the finest public research universities in the world. The increases in tuition will be used to help us improve UT — now and in the years ahead.” 

Tuition for students on the guaranteed rate plan, which holds a participating student’s tuition at $5,841 a semester, will increase by 7% for future students only, according to the UT Tuition website. 

McCombs School of Business and Cockrell School of Engineering students will pay an additional charge of $550 a semester, and College of Natural Science students will pay an additional charge of $250 per semester in addition to the 2.6% increase, according to the website. 

Milliken said the additional charges are for programs that are expensive to offer, such as business and natural science programs, as they require “expensive laboratory space” and “competitive salary scales.”

Most master’s and doctoral programs at UT-Austin will not be increased, according to UT’s tuition website. The Master in Professional Accounting, Master of Business Administration, Executive and Evening MBA and International MBA will experience tuition increases, according to the UT Tuition website. 

Students covered by the Texas Advance Commitment, which completely covers tuition and fees for students from families that earn up to $65,000 a year, will not be affected by the increase, according to the UT Tuition website. 

UT System board chairman Kevin Eltife said the tuition does not impact those in middle and higher income as heavily because the increase can prompt more government sources of financial aid, including federal grants. Eltife said the board has difficulty increasing the tuition rates, but it is necessary to maintain academic quality. 

“I don't take lightly any increase, but we also have to balance it with our academic schools and keeping quality and being able to provide … affordable, accessible product for our students,” Eltife said. 

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify a quote from UT System Chancellor James Milliken.