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How Tuition is Set

Tuition Policy Advisory Committee

Historical Documents: Meeting Agendas, Frequently Asked Questions
and Related Tuition and Budget Links from Prior Years

2012-13, 2013-14

2010-11, 2011-12

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2008-09, 2009-10

View TPAC Presentations

View Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, 2007 TPAC presentations from public forums on tuition proposals [PowerPoint].

2006-07

Since the 2005-06 Tuition Policy Advisory Committee recommended tuition rates for two years (2006-07 and 2007-08), the 2006-07 TPAC did not consider tuition rates. Instead, the committee met several times to discuss, develop background information and undertake initial studies on issues that will be considered by future committees, such as:

  • Graduate student flat rate tuition
  • Four-year undergraduate tuition locks
  • Students on fellowships as employees of the university
  • Utility costs and energy efficiency programs
  • Tighter integration of student and college needs into TPAC planning process

View TPAC Tuition Recommendations for 2006-07, 2007-08 [PDF].

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Meeting Agendas

Fall 2005
Meeting
Date
Topic
Published Presentation?
(Y/N)
#1
Sept. 16, 2005
Kickoff Meeting / Flat Rate Planning Memo
#2
Sept. 19, 2005
FY06 Budget Overview
#3
Sept. 26, 2005
Tuition Modeling
N
#4
Oct. 3, 2005
Tuition Modeling
N
#5
Oct. 10, 2005
Tuition Modeling
N
#6
Oct. 17, 2005
Tuition Modeling
N
#7
Oct. 20, 2005
Meeting with Physical Plant regarding projected energy costs
N
#8
Oct. 24, 2005
Tuition Modeling
N
#9
Oct. 26, 2005
Meeting with Student Services Fee Committee representatives
N
#10
Oct. 28, 2005
Drafting Recommendations
N
#11
Oct. 31, 2005
Drafting Recommendations
N
#12
Nov. 2, 2005
Meeting with University Budget Council to discuss draft recommendations
N
#13
Nov. 3, 2005
Release date of TPAC Tuition Recommendations to president and public
#14
Nov. 8, 2005
Public Hearing #1
3:30–5 p.m.
Welch 1.316
Y
TPAC Public Forums (PowerPoint)
#15
Nov. 9, 2005
Public Hearing #2
4–5:30 p.m.
Main 212

 

Fall 2004
Meeting
Date
Topic
Published Presentation?
(Y/N)
#1
Sept. 16, 2004
Kickoff Meeting / University Finances Overview
Y
Sept. 16, 2004
(PowerPoint)
#2
Sept. 23, 2004
University Academic Budget Overview and 6-Year Forecast
Y
Sept. 23, 2004
(PowerPoint)
#3
Sept. 30, 2004
Continued University Academic Budget Overview and 6-Year Forecast
Y
Sept. 30, 2004
(PowerPoint)
#4
Oct. 7, 2004
Overview of Undergraduate / Graduate Tuition / Fees
N
#5
Oct. 14, 2004
Review of model to determine tuition and fee revenues
N
#6
Oct. 21, 2004
Review of model to determine tuition and fee revenues
N
#7
Oct. 27, 2004
Begin developing recommendations
N
#8
Oct. 28, 2004
Review committee recommendations
N
#9
Nov. 4, 2004
Review committee recommendations
N
#10
Nov. 9, 2004
Review committee recommendations
N
 #11
Nov. 11, 2004
Review committee recommendations
N
#12
Nov. 12, 2004
Reviewed committee recommendations with President Faulkner
Y
#13
Nov. 19, 2004
Public Hearing, 3-4:30 p.m.
Hogg Auditorium
#14
Nov. 30, 2004
Public Hearing, 4-5:30 p.m.
Hogg Auditorium
 

 

Fall 2003 - Spring 2004
Meeting
Date
Topic
Published Presentation?
(Y/N)
#1
Sept. 2, 2003
Kickoff Meeting / University Finances Overview
#2
Sept. 5, 2003
University Academic Budget Overview
Y
Presentation: Meeting #2 (PowerPoint)

#3
Sept. 8, 2003
Overview of Undergraduate / Graduate Tuition
#4
Sept. 10, 2003
Managing the Facilities Asset Portfolio
Y
Presentation: Meeting #4 (PowerPoint)

#5
Sept. 15, 2003
Draft 6-Year Forecast
N
#6
Sept. 17, 2003
Canceled due to State of University Address
N
#7
Sept. 22, 2003
Draft 6-Year Forecast
N
#8
Sept. 23, 2003
Final 6-Year Forecast
Y
Presentation: Meeting #8 (PowerPoint)

#9
Sept. 24, 2003
Public Hearing from university community at large
Y
Presentation: Meeting #9 (PowerPoint)

#10
Sept. 29, 2003
Affordability & recommendation development
N
#11
Oct. 1, 2003
Affordability & recommendation development
N
#12
Oct. 3, 2003
Final recommendation development
N
#13
Oct. 6, 2003
Final recommendation development
N
#14
Oct. 7, 2003
Deliver committee recommendation to President Faulkner
#15
Oct. 9, 2003
Public Hearing
#16
Oct. 16, 2003
Public Hearing
N
#17
March 2, 2004
Planning Meeting for future meetings and agenda items

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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers from
Nov. 19 TPAC Public Hearing

Updated November 29, 2004

1. Why is the flat rate based on 15 semester credit hours rather than 12 or 14 hours?

To graduate within four years with most undergraduate degrees, a student must take 30 semester credit hours per year. The proposed flat rate plan provides an incentive for undergraduate students to take more hours. If undergraduate students averaged 15 semester credit hours, not only would they graduate sooner and save on their total cost of education, an estimated additional 1,000 freshmen could be admitted each year, providing greater access to the university.

2. Since students in the colleges of Natural Sciences and Liberal Arts are already charged a flat rate, will they be economically penalized by the new flat rate?

No, the 2003-04 flat rate charge for those students will increase by 4.75 percent for 2004-05.

3. Not all undergraduate students can take 15 semester credit hours. Will part-time undergraduate students be charged the full amount?

The proposed flat rate for full-time undergraduate students (those taking 12 or more hours) is based on a full load of 15 semester credit hours. Those students who take between eight and 11 semester credit hours will be charged a prorated amount. Undergraduate students taking seven or fewer hours will be charged an hourly rate.

4. Will there be a flat rate structure for the summer sessions?

Due to time constraints, the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee was unable to address the issue of summer session charges. The administration is working on a plan for summer session charges.

5. What if an undergraduate student is a double major and enrolled in two different colleges? Will he or she have to pay twice?

No, there will only be a single charge for those students enrolled in two separate colleges. The provost is assessing the most appropriate and fair manner to charge dual-college enrolled students.

6. If students take more hours, will the university be able to offer the classes needed to meet the increased demand?

Yes, retaining faculty and adding additional faculty are top priorities of the university.

7. How many faculty will be added next year?

We are planning to add 30 faculty members next year.

8. With students taking more hours, are you concerned about the quality of instruction?

The uses of the anticipated increase in revenue all address quality. New money will be spent on adding faculty, retaining existing faculty and staff, providing new classroom and laboratory equipment, and renovating/upgrading instructional facilities.

9. Are there financial incentives for students who graduate in four years?

There is a new legislative initiative designed to reward graduation on time. The B-On-Time Loan Repayment program provides low-interest loans to financially needy students. The loans are “forgiven” by turning into grants for those undergraduate students who graduate within certain limits. (Please contact the Office of Student Financial Services for more information). Perhaps the greatest incentive for graduating in four years is the amount of money saved by not paying for additional years of college and the income derived from entering the job market sooner.

10. Why did the committee not recommend a flat rate structure for graduate students?

Due to time constraints, the committee did not believe there was adequate time to consider fully both undergraduate and graduate flat rate structures. The committee did recommend that a graduate student flat rate structure be addressed by TPAC next year.

11. What is the university’s strategy for addressing budget deficits in future years beyond raising tuition?

The student share (tuition) of addressing the deficit is only one part of a three-part strategy. Additional funding must also come from the state and other university sources.

The university will continue to stress the importance of the investment in higher education to the Texas Legislature. The university will continue cost-savings measures. The university will continue to seek additional resources from donors. Ultimately, if additional revenues are not collected, many proposed enhancements to the education experience at the university will not be implemented.

12. The university recently completed a successful capital campaign. Can that money be used to address the shortfall next year?

While the capital campaign was very successful, most donations either were non-cash donations or restricted by the donors to specific uses. However, some of the donation income is included in the projected budget for next year and does provide much needed assistance.

13. What can students do to help persuade the Texas Legislature to appropriate more money to the university?

While university employees have constraints on advocating for additional state funding, students do not. If students feel strongly about this issue, they should contact their local legislative representatives, attend legislative hearings, write letters or participate in whatever advocacy process they feel appropriate. Resident students have the same right to participation in their government as any other citizen of Texas.

2005-06 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated November 16, 2004

1. What is the process for making a tuition policy decision?

President Larry R. Faulkner established the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC), a committee consisting of four students and five members of the faculty and/or administration, as the principal mechanism for developing future tuition policy.

The TPAC gave its recommendations to the president for the 2005-06 academic year on Nov. 16, 2004. The committee will hold public hearings to obtain feedback on its recommendations on Nov. 19 and 30. The president will be in the audience to listen to the comments offered by attendees.

Subsequent to the public hearings the president will develop tuition policy recommendations he will deliver to the University of Texas System chancellor and the Board of Regents in mid-December. The Board of Regents is expected to consider the proposal at its February 2005 regularly scheduled meeting.

2. What other measures are being taken to reduce the budget deficit besides raising tuition?

The university continues to pursue cost savings initiative and undertake efforts to improve its operational efficiency. While these efforts have been successful in meeting some of the need, it is not possible for efficiencies to fund the expected difference between essential needs of the university and estimated university revenue before any tuition increase, a difference of nearly $54 million.

The university will continue to seek additional funding from the state and it will continue to seek additional private gifts and endowments. However, it is not reasonable to assume that these sources of funding can and will cover the entire difference. Therefore, the TPAC determined it was appropriate to ask students to pay for a portion of the difference.

3. Why does the university continue to build new buildings during this budget crisis?

The university is at space capacity. It is the university’s goal to reduce the student-faculty ratio. To do this it is necessary to provide classroom, laboratory and office space for new faculty members.

4. What is Indirect Cost Recovery?

The official name for indirect cost recovery is Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Cost. It is also known as overhead.

When a sponsored agreement is granted to the university, the budget is divided into two parts, direct costs that can be directly attributed to a project, such as research salaries and equipment, and indirect costs, which cannot be specifically identified with a project, such as building use and central administrative functions, such as purchasing and accounting.

The indirect cost rate is negotiated with the federal government and the university’s rate is 50 percent, which means for every $100 dollar of direct cost awarded, the university receives $50 for indirect costs. Not all sponsored agreements receive the full amount for indirect costs; some receive a lesser percentage and some receive nothing.

In 1973, all the indirect cost generated by the university was returned to the state. Between 1973 and 2003, the university was able to keep 50 percent of its indirect cost recovery and the remaining 50 percent was returned to the state.

Beginning in FY 03-04, the university is able to keep 100 percent of its indirect cost recovery. Much of this new funding has been earmarked for research and related infrastructure.

5. What are the requirements for tuition set asides for financial assistance?

House Bill 3015 authorized the boards of regents to determine the level of designated tuition charged to students. Financial aid is addressed in two important ways in HB 3015. The bill requires a minimum of 20 percent set aside on resident undergraduate designated tuition and a minimum of 15 percent set aside on resident graduate or professional designated tuition above the current $46/SCH designated rate. The 20 percent and 15 percent set asides are minimum requirements. Affordability is a key issue to the committee in developing any tuition proposal.

6. Will compensation/stipends for graduate students increase as tuition increases?

Yes, we anticipate that compensation will increase as tuition increases. In addition, the president has established an ad hoc committee on graduate student benefits. This seven-member committee is meeting this fall and is planning to complete its report by the end of November.

7. Why is out-of-state tuition so low and will it also be raised?

Out-of-state tuition was set by the legislature. They used an average of tuition at the public institutions in the five most populous states.

No decisions have been made but out-of-state tuition is likely to increase.

8. Is the university looking into selling some its land assets, such as the land on Lake Austin Boulevard?

The university does sell many smaller land assets, such as private residences, that it receives as gifts. For the larger parcels of land, a list is being reviewed to determine if it is feasible to lease any of them. Most land assets already have long-term leases. Others have never been zoned because ownership predates zoning laws. It may be problematic to get these lands zoned and leased but efforts are being made to try to use as many of these assets as possible.

It is preferable to lease these lands instead of selling so that earnings and options for selling will be available to future generations.

9. Does the university have a repair and renovation (R&R) schedule for its buildings and how is this schedule determined?

Repairs and renovations are projects that are of a larger scale and generally upgrade the condition of a building. Examples of this would be roof repairs and replacements, replacements of all or parts of large equipment and replacement of carpet or tile in all or part of a building. Physical Plant has completed a comprehensive assessment of the campus condition and this has provided very good information on the overall need and priorities for R&R by building. These projects will be completed as the need arises and as funds are available.

10. How can universities that charge less for tuition and fees be ranked higher than we are?

The tuition charged is in part dependent on the amount of state support received by the institution. In the early 1970s the state paid for nearly 85 percent of the cost of running the educational side of The University of Texas at Austin. Today, the state covers less than 35 percent. The growing gap between what it costs to run the university and what the state is able to contribute has been covered in part by private donations, efficiency and other actions taken by the university. However, if the university is to maintain delivery of the quality of education it has become known for, it determined it had to ask the students attending the university to pay for an increasing share of that gap.

States have different approaches to funding their universities. Some have maintained their support at high levels to keep student costs relatively low while some have allowed their universities to increase the cost to students as they reduced their support level.

Even after considering the recent increases, The University of Texas at Austin continues to be a nationally recognized great value in higher education.

11. How much will tuition increase?

The amounts of the tuition increase proposed vary based on the college and student status. The amounts are set forth in the TPAC recommendations sent to the president. They are published on the TPAC Web site.

12. How will the monies raised from the tuition increase be used?

The monies raised from the tuition increase will be used to address the critical budget priorities of the university, which are: 1) Hiring additional faculty, 2) Protecting our existing faculty and staff and 3) Preserving our infrastructure. The specific amounts raised by the increase and allocated to each of these priorities will be decided by the University Budget Council. The tuition increase alone will only fund about $16.5 million of the nearly $54 million of the critical needs of the university.

13. What are the benefits of flat rate tuition?

Graduation rates at The University of Texas at Austin are significantly lower than other comparative institutions. Because students progress slower at the university, there are fewer spaces available for new students.

Reducing the time to graduation reduces the total education costs for students and their families. The colleges of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences have had a flat rate tuition pilot program for the past two years. This program has increased the number of hours that students take and has increased graduation rates.

Flat rate tuition is a simpler billing structure. The cost of education in each college will be clearer to students.

The TPAC also concurred with the Senate of College Council’s recommendation that student advice be sought by each college or school on all flat rate tuition changes and related budget allocations recommended in the future.

14. How can students get involved in the process?

Students should read the complete TPAC recommendations and attend the public forums to ask questions and listen to responses. The recommendations and the public forum dates and times can be found on the TPAC Web site.

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Tuition and Budget Links

2005-06

University News

2004-05

University News

2003-04

National News

State News

University News

 

 

 

 


  Updated 2011 December 16
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