Frequently asked questions (FAQ) concerning 2006 tuition increase
U of L President James Ramsey and Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin met with nearly 100 students, faculty and staff Wednesday, March 22, to discuss a proposed 13 percent tuition increase for 2006-07.
Ramsey also reviewed U of L’s funding dilemma and the proposed state funding for the university in the 2006-07 budget.
Students asked many questions during the two-hour session. Following are responses to some of the most common questions:
- What is the proposed tuition increase?
- How does our increase compare with other schools?
- Why is our increase high?
- Why are tuition increases necessary?
- What will the proposed increases fund?
- Why not consider a guaranteed tuition rate upon enrollment?
- Can’t we save money by doing something about the heating and cooling, especially in residence halls?
- If tuition must go up, can’t we try to keep additional costs down, e.g. parking, food services, books?
- Is there a way to provide more money to juniors and seniors?
- What can students do to help eliminate future tuition increases?
- Can you better advertise tuition remission opportunities offered by businesses?
- Why doesn’t the university think “out of the box” to help keep tuition down?
1. What is the proposed tuition increase?
U of L has approved a 13 percent tuition rate for resident, undergraduate students. This increase is roughly $360 per semester. Non-resident tuition increases by $490 per semester.
Graduate tuition is up $390 per semester for resident students, $397 per semester for non-residents.
Tuition increases must be approved by the Council on Postsecondary Education at their April 5 meeting. At that time, all rates will be posted on the U of L web site.
2. How does our increase compare with other schools?
Proposed increases at other schools range from 9.7 percent at Northern Kentucky University to 13 percent at Murray State University. Many other schools also have increases in mandatory student fees. U of L does not have these fees.
3. Why is our increase high?
Our percentage increase is in line with the other state schools, particularly when factoring in the student fees they charge. The university has tried to keep rates as low as possible; last year U of L had the lowest tuition increase, 9.75 percent, among all four-year public universities in Kentucky. Other schools increased tuition by more than 20 percent.
4. Why are tuition increases necessary?
There are a couple of reasons. First, the university’s two major sources of income are state funding and tuition. Currently, tuition covers about 46 percent of college costs. Our state funding has not kept pace with our costs – including some programs that are mandated by the state but unfunded.
Also, the university is mandated by the state to become a preeminent metropolitan research university by 2020. This mandate requires improvements in teaching, research and the student life experience. An example of this is the reorganization of our career center. This project will require a significant investment, but it will benefit all our students who need guidance in this area.
In addition, our students, through SGA, have asked for other services, such as improved student health services and childcare. These programs also are expensive, and yet there is no state funding for these programs.
5. What will the proposed increases fund?
The increases will help fund a variety of programs ranging from need-based financial aid and merit-based scholarships to library materials, diversity initiatives and faculty positions. The increases also will help fund new public safety positions for the north end of campus and the library. The funding also will allow us to attract and retain outstanding faculty and will fund various academic initiatives throughout campus.
6. Why not consider a guaranteed tuition rate upon enrollment?
The university has considered this approach, but it poses some problems. For instance, the universities do not know what their state funding will be that far in advance. For example, if you set the tuition rates for an entering freshman class at 8 percent increases per year for four or five years, the university would have a major budget problem if state funding is decreased or only increased at a minimal level.
The university will continue to look for approaches to keep tuition down for its students.
7. Can’t we save money by doing something about the heating and cooling, especially in residence halls?
Many of the facilities on campus are connected to a central heating and cooling system, which is economical but allows little flexibility within each building. Converting to individual systems for each building would cost millions of dollars and isn’t economically feasible at this time.
The university is always looking for ways to save costs and invites suggestions from students, faculty and staff. The president invites anyone to share their ideas with him. To share your ideas, please send us an e-mail. The ideas will be forwarded to the appropriate department.
8. If tuition must go up, can’t we try to keep additional costs down, e.g. parking, food services, books?
The university negotiates with private companies in areas such as bookstores and food services to try to ensure the best services at the lowest prices for our students. We constantly evaluate these companies and work with them to keep prices down.
The university also works to find discounted services for our students and employees.
9. Is there a way to provide more money to juniors and seniors?
The Student Financial Aid Office administers the Commonwealth Scholarship program that is open to all current U of L students with at least 24 credit hours completed at U of L. These scholarship awards are based on merit only. Students should contact their academic departments to see if there are any departmental scholarships available. Students are also encouraged to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for need-based aid.
10. What can students do to help eliminate future tuition increases?
Students can help fend off future tuition increases by working to convince the public and elected leaders that an investment in higher education is vital to Kentucky’s future. President Ramsey committed at the open forum to support students who wish to develop a grassroots campaign to lobby legislators regarding higher education funding. Students should contact SGA and push for this effort. For more information, please send us an e-mail.
11. Can you better advertise tuition remission opportunities offered by businesses?
Students can visit our scholarships pages. On this website, we list all the tuition remission programs we administer. We have a U of L Scholarships link with information about scholarships available through the university.
We also have an Outside Scholarships link to additional information about programs offered by organizations outside of U of L. Again, students are encouraged to contact their academic departments for programs specific to their majors.
12. Why doesn’t the university think “out of the box” to help keep tuition down?
The university tries many approaches to help find funding. Dr. Ramsey has focused on improving our return on what to now have been underproducing assets.
For instance, the university is developing part of Shelby Campus into a research park that will attract high-paying companies and will produce some revenue.Another example: The old Reynolds Building at the corner of Eastern Parkway and Third Street has been vacant for years. The university has reached an agreement with a private developer to turn that building into loft condominiums, a development that will serve U of L students and faculty while returning capital to the university.