The Utah Board of Regents has approved second-tier tuition increases for nine higher education institutions in the state.
The regents previously approved a first-tier tuition increase of 3.5 percent, with 0.5 percent dedicated to student financial aid at the state institutions.
Recommended by the Utah Student Association, the 0.5 percent specially earmaked by the board of regents will generate nearly $1 million per year for financial aid.
The presidents of the state's nine higher education institutions proposed the second-tier tuition increases at a special board of regents meeting on April 2.
The hikes approved by the regents include:
College of Eastern Utah - 4.5 percent, second tier, and 8 percent, total, for $96 per year.
University of Utah - undergraduate, 6.1 percent and 9.6 percent, $240 per year; graduate, 8 percent and 11.5 percent, $230 per year.
Utah State University - freshmen, 9 percent and 12.5 percent, $265 per year; undergraduate, 6 percent and 9.5 percent, $202 per year; graduate, 20 percent and 23.5 percent, $435 per year.
Weber State University - 5.5 and 9 percent, $161 per year.
Southern Utah University - 5.5 percent and 9 percent, $156 per year.
Snow College - 6 percent and 9.5 percent, $109 per year.
Dixie College - lower division 1.5 percent and 5 percent, $63 per year; upper division, 2.5 percent and 6 percent, $102 per year.
Utah Valley State College - lower division, 16 percent and 19.5 percent, $301 per year; upper division, 5.5 percent and 9 percent, $161 per year.
Salt Lake Community College - 5.5 percent and 9 percent, $129 per year.
In addition, the regents approved a $2 per credit hour surcharge at USU for all business and engineering college classes along with a new $35 per year student fee at the U of U to help pay for increased fuel and power costs.
It is understood that the fuel and power fee will be eliminated when energy costs go down and/or additional funding is provided by the Utah Legislature, according to the regents.
The Legislature required an additional $2 million be raised in graduate tuition, which accounts for part of the increases approved at Tuesday's meeting.
"We are always reluctant to raise tuition," pointed out regents chair Charles Johnson. "But with state dollars tighter than they've been for 15 years and the need to maintain quality, we really had no choice. Even with these tuition increases, budgets are being cut."
"As painful as the tuition increases are, when compared with other states in our region or nationally, the cost of higher education in Utah remains very affordable," noted Cecelia Foxley.
"For instance, our tuition is slightly below the average for our region at the four year institutions and research universities, and at or slightly above average at the other institutions," added the commissioner of higher education.
Under the truth in tuition bill adopted by the 2001 Utah Legislature, the presidents of the colleges and universities were required to provide information and conduct public meetings on the increases before proposing second-tier tuition to the board, according to the regents.
The presidents conducted the hearings at the institutions between March 20 and April 1. Without exception, the presidents reported to the regents that the proposals had student support
The revenues raised through the second-tier tuition increases will go toward funding a variety of purposes, according to the board of regents.
Examples identified by the board include replacing some money cut by the Utah Legislature, providing student computer labs, increasing general education courses, reducing bottlenecks in classes that slow student progress, library acquisitions and expanding faculty as well as counselors.