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April 11, 2012
Dear Chancellor Cigarroa,
On behalf of the Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets and the Faculty Council Executive Committee of the University of Texas at Austin, we write to express our strong support for the modest tuition increase recommended by President Powers: 2.6% for undergraduate resident students and 3.6% for nonresident and graduate students. We agree with the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) report that the increase is justified and necessary to “maintain the basic core services and make progress towards improving four-year graduation rates.”
We urge you to help decision-makers understand how carefully the increase was arrived at. First, President Powers asked the academic deans to submit low-cost plans for improving the four-year graduation rates. Then TPAC, using a process of wide-spread consultation, careful analysis, and thoughtful deliberation, determined the absolute minimum tuition increase that would enable us to improve students’ time-to-degree without cutting necessary programs and services. The approximately $15,000,000 dollars that the increase will generate is insufficient to offset declining state funding, but it will enable us to move forward with planned programs that will enhance both the efficiency of our students’ progress toward their degrees and the quality of the degrees they earn.
As faculty, we daily confront the needs and exigencies of our students. We know that most of them work very hard at their academic studies and that many have a difficult time paying for their education. We strongly support the awarding of merit and need-based scholarships, undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, and other forms of financial support. All the students with whom we have spoken and most who spoke out at TPAC fora last fall recognize that, while they do not like the tuition increase, the University must keep pace with the cost of living if it is to be able to keep offering the quality education they seek.
We hope that you agree with us that UT Austin needs this tuition increase and urge you to do all you can to persuade the Regents of its necessity.
Hillary Hart, Chair, UT Austin Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets
Alan Friedman, Chair, UT Austin Faculty Council