Board increases tuition, student union fee

Board increases tuition, student union fee

Board increases tuition, student union fee
March 20
16:49 2014

Joshua Knopp// Senior Staff Writer

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Board of Regents voted unanimously today to move to the tuition plan proposed two weeks ago by President Neal Smatresk, and also to raise the student union fee in a move that was approved by the students in 2012. This fall, many students will be paying $12.34 more per hour and be putting $115 more per semester into the union building.

Smatresk’s tuition plan set two different tracks of tuition — a traditional plan, in which tuition will increase by 3.9 percent every year, and a fixed rate plan called the Eagle Express. Students who opt-in to the Eagle Express will see their tuition shoot up 10 percent higher than students on the traditional plan, but that rate will not increase and, if the student graduates in four years while being on the Eagle Express plan the whole time, they will be eligible for $4,000 off their last semester’s tuition.

According to the university’s numbers, a student who receives this rebate will actually be paying less for their degree than a student who had gone through four years at the current tuition rate. There are plans with scaled-back rebates for existing students who can only be in the plan for one, two or three years at this point, but Smatresk said there was not much benefit to being in the plan for one or two years.

Approving the plan sets tuition rates for the next four years. Traditional tuition will be $190.13 per hour during the 2014-15 school year, $202.95 per hour during 2015-16, $216.27 the next year and $230.11 the year after that.

Fixed-rate tuition will be set at 10 percent higher than the year in which the student starts at UNT — students joining this fall, for example, will have tuition set at $209.44 per hour for 12 consecutive semesters, students joining the next year will pay $223.01 over the same time period, and so on.

Students will only have one chance to opt in to the Eagle Express plan — freshmen and transfer students will have to make their decision as soon as they get into the school. Existing students will have the chance to opt in before the fall 2014 semester.

Students voted on the student union fee increase in spring 2012. Student Government Association passed a referendum that approved the fee on a delay until fall 2014. Only 2,253 students voted. Of those, only 1,220 voted in favor of the fee. Students will be paying $167 total per semester for their union fee going forward. The new union is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Vice president for student affairs Elizabeth With said this is the first time she’s seen students paying for a new building before they could use it. She said putting more money down means the university can take out fewer bonds and save money on interest in the long run. She said the referendum was entirely student-led.

“The conversation at the time was about foresight,” she said. “It’s like a loan. When you buy a house, the more you put down, the less you pay back.”

Union director Zane Reif said the new union is on budget and on schedule to open in fall 2015.

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