published Monday, October 10th, 2011

Another tuition increase likely in UT system

In this file photo, Justin Higgins, second from right, informs a group of Stratford High School students from Nashville about the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga during a tour of the campus.
In this file photo, Justin Higgins, second from right, informs a group of Stratford High School students from Nashville about the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga during a tour of the campus.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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UTC TUITION INCREASES


Rate and cost increase for in-state undergraduates:

• 2007: 6 percent, up $224

• 2008: 6 percent, up $238

• 2009: 7 percent, up $296

• 2010: 9 percent, up $407

• 2011: 9.9 percent, up $486

Source: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee system just began talks about tuition for next year but the trend points to more increases, UT President Joe DiPietro said.

And that's despite a nearly 40 percent increase in tuition in some schools over the past five years.

"We'll be as kind as we can; nobody likes to raise tuition," he said during an editorial board meeting at the Chattanooga Times Free Press last week.

In fact, DiPietro said, he would like to lower tuition, "but it's just not the reality of who we are or where we are financially."

For fiscal 2012 the University of Tennessee received $411.3 million in state appropriations, 25 percent less than in 2008.

And 2012 is the first year without federal stimulus funds that totaled $219 million in fiscal 2010 and 2011, university officials said.

Thanks to a 9.9 percent increase this year, money from student tuition and fees will exceed state appropriations for the first time, UT Treasurer Charles Peccolo said in a news release earlier this year.

State budgets are precarious nationwide and tuition increases are likely in many states, said Thomas Harnisch, policy analyst with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

"Until the economy picks up, states are probably going to continue to cut budgets, and higher education is one of the first things to get cut and one of the last things to receive funding when recession finally is over," he said.

  • photo
    University of Tennessee system President Joe DiPietro.
    Staff File Photo

Undergraduate students paying in-state tuition at UTC have seen an increase of almost 38 percent in the last five years. The total cost of tuition and fees has risen from $5,062 per year in 2007-08 to $6,718 this year, school data shows.

Richard Brown, vice chancellor of finance and operations, said the increase next year will be moderate.

"We will make every effort to keep it under the double digits," he said.

And whatever the amount, it will come under the following parameters, he said:

• Being sensitive that while the university is economically challenged, so are students and families.

• Filling sections, especially in math and science, to help students graduate in four years.

• Meeting operational needs, such as providing students with more advisers.

• Determining operation cost, including utilities and building maintenance.

Tuition for the UT system is finalized each year during the UT board of trustees meeting in June, usually closely following the Legislature's state appropriations bill.

Community colleges are not much different.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Board of Regents approved its highest tuition increase at community college in six years, 9.3 percent.

At Cleveland and Chattanooga state community colleges, tuition has more than doubled for in-state students over the past decade, from $1,488 a year in 2001 to $3,096 in 2011.

But as tuition increases, so does the value of having a post-secondary education, said Harnisch.

"The only thing that costs more than a college degree today is the cost of not getting a post-secondary credential," he said.

Tammy Swenson, executive vice president for business and finance at Chattanooga State, said "there's no way around" shrinking state funding for higher education.

She said it's too early to tell what the picture will be in the coming year.

"Tuition depends on the economy in general, as to how it plays out in the next few months," she said. "In listening to news and reading newspapers, state revenues are up. Hopefully that's an indicator."

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about Perla Trevizo...

Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
NoMyth said...

The UT higher education system should be self-funded, i.e., the budget should be set by the incoming revenue (tuition, fees, sales proceeds, federal grants, etc.). Commitments to future expenditures should be offset by increases in said revenue. Today, higher education is a business and so it needs to be run like one.

October 10, 2011 at 1:43 a.m.
dl said...

If it were run like a business tuition would be 20,000 plus. Just look at all the private Colleges.

October 10, 2011 at 6:59 a.m.
Oz said...

Occupy UTC....If professors and administrators were not so greedy higher education would be affordable and students would not be saddled with so much debt.

October 10, 2011 at 7:59 a.m.
Onceuponatime said...

I would love to have the opportunity to go back to college but it seems since the cost of tutition is going up and up I will never be able to afford it. I'm 23 working full time (as is my fiance) and have been dying to go back to college since I was 20 but when it comes to 4k to pay my bills and make sure we have groceries or 4k (tution + books)on over priced college than I will have to chose my family over myself.

October 10, 2011 at 8:56 a.m.
dl said...

Compare UT to even the University of Phoenix - they are more than double UTC's tuition just for on-line courses! The UT system is a great bargain and TN residents should be happy we have it.

October 10, 2011 at 9:40 a.m.
memphisexile said...

Onceuponatime, $6718 for one year of college is a bargain. When you look at the difference in incomes between those with a high school diploma and a college diploma, the amount is significant. Education is an investment in your future, and $28,000.00 is a bargain for a lifetime of better employment and higher pay. Being unable to afford college out of pocket is not an excuse. Most people do not pay for college out of pocket, you borrow the money and pay it back over time.

October 10, 2011 at 10:17 a.m.
onetinsoldier said...

A life of endenturement isn't much of a career. If you really want to see a case of class warfare you need look no further than the college system. Rich and stupid equals a degree Smart and poor equals endenturement.

October 10, 2011 at 11 a.m.
mystyre said...

'Education is an investment in your future, and $28,000.00 is a bargain for a lifetime of better employment and higher pay. Being unable to afford college out of pocket is not an excuse. Most people do not pay for college out of pocket, you borrow the money and pay it back over time.'

that's right. and IF you are able to find a job in this market, you'll be making $30,000 a year working side-by-side with people without any kind of college degree. and you'll pay off that $56k - $112k student loan feeling like winner. you know why...because you did it, buddy. thumbs up and smiles for the graduate.

October 10, 2011 at 11:03 a.m.
rolando said...

That's a 50% increase in UTC's tuition over a five year period. Be nice if everyone's pay went up the much...but it hasn't.

What you are seeing is called inflation -- a drop in the value of the dollar since too many of them were printed.

October 10, 2011 at 5:14 p.m.
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