Board of Governors approves differential tuition increase
Original 15 percent increase passes
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Updated: Sunday, June 24, 2012 16:06
The differential tuition increase will be effective fall 2012. Students taking 30 credit hours per academic year should expect an average increase of $663, which includes fees.
Differential tuition has increased by 15 percent each year since 2009-2010 and the last time there was no increase at all was in 1995-1996.
Currently Florida ranks 45th in undergraduate tuition and fees with an average of $5,626. If the trend continues, institutions in Florida’s state university system could reach the national average of $8,244 in 10 years.
A $2 increase to UCF’s capital improvement trust fund fee was also approved. The fee could go toward renovations to the John C. Hitt Library, building of a second Student Union and a new facility for the Creative School for Children. Although the increase was approved, the Board of Governors did not discuss or vote on the projects that could be funded by those dollars.
Each university asked for the maximum $2 per credit hour increase to the fee, with the exception of New College, which requested $1.36 and Florida State University, which did not request any increase.
Whatley said he felt comfortable approving the fee increase during the Board of Governors meeting because he said students are in favor of CITF-funded projects.
“These are projects that students are directly going to benefit from. We have direct say in the projects that we are going to bring to campus,” Whatley said. "A lot of these students are looking for these projects that are going to enhance their educational experience."
Several Board members spoke out against the increase. Hosseini suggested that instead of increasing the fee the full $2, that the fee be increased by $1 this year and then another $1 next year. The CITF has not been increased since 1989.
The vote count was 11-4 and all the CITF requests were approved as a whole.
On Tuesday and Wednesday each university was given the opportunity to present its 2012-2013 work plan to the Strategic Planning Committee. These plans provided an overview of the university’s growth rates, graduation rates, fiscal information and predictive statistics.
Hitt presented a PowerPoint slideshow to the committee before accepting questions Tuesday afternoon.
During the presentation Hitt emphasized that UCF has stretched its resources and “tightened its belt” in more ways than one, citing consolidations in several of UCF’s colleges and saying that UCF’s instructional costs are 20 percent below the median of the state university system.
Some of these consolidations are due to UCF’s rapid growth and shrinking budget. Hitt said that UCF has nearly 60,000 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is one of the highest in the country at 31.7 to 1 with the average class size being 51 students. He said online teaching is the best aid for teachers who now have to handle larger classes.
In terms of improvement, Hitt would like to see an increase in the number of baccalaureate and graduate degrees awarded. He’d also like to see an increase in the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors.
“What happens to a lot of students is that they come in thinking they want engineering… they take a couple of courses and they make C’s and D’s… and they change majors,” Hitt said.
After the work plan presentation, Board of Governors member Ava Parker wondered if it’s time for UCF to slow its growth rate.
“If we don’t get some additional funding soon, we won’t have a choice. We won’t be able to continue the growth,” Hitt said. “There’s a limit to how much you can stretch the resources. We’re reaching that point, whether we like it or not.”
The work plan was approved in the Strategic Planning Committee on Tuesday with the exception of the differential tuition increase and the CITF increase, which were approved by the Budget Finance Committee Thursday morning and then by the entire Board of Governors Thursday afternoon.
Gov. Rick Scott attended the Board of Governors luncheon Tuesday afternoon to give remarks on Florida’s higher education system.
After noting how beautiful UCF’s campus is, Scott described Florida’s state university system’s current situation as “tough.”