President Wight to present on tuition increase

Student tuition will increase by 1 to 4 percent for the next year to meet campus needs. Weber State University President

Graphic by: Jake McIntosh
Graphic by: Jake McIntosh

Charles Wight will give a presentation about the increase on March 11 at 12:30 p.m. in Room 404 of the Shepherd Union Building.

The presentation will include the budget for WSU and a comparison to other universities in the state. The tuition increase will cost students $20-$80 per semester. This increase will go to help three different areas on campus.

The first area is mandated cost and compensation. The mandated cost is unavoidable costs, such as if the health care and insurance rates go up. The compensation is for salary increases.

The second area is computing enhancements. Norm Tarbox, the vice president for administrative services, said this is the fourth and final year this will be on the Tier 2 tuition increase list.

“We did some benchmarking and had clearly some issues with that area,” Tarbox said. “Our network was down more often than it should have been and the fixes took longer than they should have. We didn’t have the size of bandwidth that we needed. Surprisingly, we’ve got students that are creating volume on our network at all hours of the day.”

The third area the money will go to is student support, which will provide money for tutors, academic advisers and other things students need that are not in the classroom.

Jan Winniford, the vice president of student affairs, said the Tier 2 meeting is a requirement for every university to let students and community members know about the tuition increase. The meeting also gives students an opportunity to ask questions about the increase.

“Most students, once they understand more about the need for the increase . . . can accept it and have a better understanding,” Winniford said.

Each area has a range of how much money it will receive, because the raise in Tier 2 tuition depends on how much money the state legislature gives WSU from state taxes.

“What we have done with Tier 2 tuition in the past is we have waited to see what the legislature does, and then we’ve provided enough flexibility for ourselves in the Tier 2 requests,” Tarbox said. “So if they come through in a big, big way and fund all of these things, we can drop it all the way down to 1 (percent). Or, if they decide ‘we aren’t going to allocate anything’, we can ramp it up to 4 (percent).”

Tarbox said the tuition increases in the past have varied from 1 percent to 7 percent. The final percentage cannot be decided until the state legislature has decided on how much funding to give higher education. If the amount of money from the taxes does not cover the university’s needs, then the Board of Regents will raise the Tier 1 tuition for all universities.

“They are very supportive of us and higher education,” said Brad Mortensen, the university legislative liaison, about the state legislature. “We would want more money, but a lot is based on the economy and based on the money that is available, but they’ve been supportive.”

Despite these increases, WSU still has the lowest tuition of the universities in Utah. Tarbox said the tuition is able to remain low partially because of the amount of students taking online classes, which is a less expensive way to provide classes.

“We have a lot of working students here either working full-time or part-time, and we know that,” Tarbox said. “They’re cost-conscious, and so we’ve been more conservative than the other institutions have.”

Once the percentage of Tier 2 increase is decided, it is sent to the Board of Regents to be approved. Tarbox said then they can start planning the budget and where the money will go. Once that is finished, the Board of Trustees approves the budget.