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Fees and tuition increase passes UCA Board of Trustees

Posted: May 6, 2011 - 8:23pm

University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees members voted unanimously to increase tuition and fees for students at its quarterly meeting Friday.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Diane Newton explained that the three student fee increases and the tuition increase that were endorsed by the Student Government Association represented an overall increase of 3.9 percent.

President Allen Meadors reminded the board and meeting attendees that UCA receives less state appropriations than the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s definition of average funding per full-time student.

According to the UCA Office of Institutional Research, UCA’s state appropriations per student in 2009 and 2010 were just below $5,000 — placing the university as least-funded among large institutions such as the University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro. 

Scott Roussel, board chairman, reminded attendees that UCA did not receive a funding increase following the Legislative Session.

“Our budget is under control, and it is being watched under good eyes, but we’re going to have to increase tuition to keep up,” Roussel said.

Newton said that the tuition increase of $5.05 per hour for undergraduate students and $6.25 for graduate students would generate $1.3 million for the university to pay for fixed costs.

For the average student bearing a 15-hour credit load, the change means a semester increase of $75.75.

Other fee increases included a 25-cent per hour increase in the student center and recreation fee and a new fee of 35 cents per hour for the writing department and the Academic Success Center.

The new fee would support additional tutoring opportunities and expand online tutoring through the Academic Success Center.

Newton said that the third fee, an increase of $3.50 per hour for the use of the university’s workout facility, the HPER Center, would allow for expansion for the popular feature on campus.

“This is part one of three increases so that we can issue bonds on construction. Operational costs will come in phases two and three,” Roussel said.

Tuition increases and fees combined, which represent 42.28 percent of the university’s budget, equate to a change of $137.25 more in charges per semester for the average student. 

Despite reports presented of low funding, Meadors revealed a “healthy” cash position of $40,644,159 to the board in a short review of the fiscal year. 

Figures from April in 2008 show a negative cash position of $4.5 million, a positive $6.7 million in 2009 and $25.1 million in April of 2010.

The board declined to vote on a proposal presented by the Student Government Association to “forever protect” the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve from future development.

Meghan Thompson, SGA president, presented 1,954 signatures obtained by “the Green Bears Project” in support of protecting the acreage on campus.

Board member Randy Sims said that “forever is forever,” and he would not be comfortable with the permanence.

Roussel said that the group’s enthusiasm and hard work ensured that the Board would take the proposal into consideration. 

“The board is not ready to vote on it at this time,” he said.

Also at the meeting, the board adopted:

• A resolution to offer a master of fine arts in creative writing.

• A strategic plan for university growth and advancement.

• 24 provisional employment positions

• A memorandum of understanding between UCA and Conway Regional Medical Center, Inc. for the construction of a health care education facility.

• Operating budget for 2011-12.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

 

 

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sevenof400
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sevenof400 05/07/11 - 06:31 pm
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So the question remains

...why is UCA trying to be one of the 'large' universities in this state? The taxpayers of this state do NOT need four 'large' universities on the public dole.

You'd think with all of the tuition, fee, room and board increases UCA has crammed down our throats in the period that started with Win and continued with Lu'sing and extends into the current pain in the Allen, that UCA would at least have the courtesy to increase their financial aid....

Oops, sorry but we're going to cut that as well.

I wonder if the BOT ever considers how Arkansans can afford to attend UCA - even with a $5,000 lottery scholarship....oops, wait, the state is cutting this as well....now $4,500.

UCA is becoming less of a choice for Arkansans with each passing BOT meeting. Is this what we want in a place we belong?

Hardly.

BearFan4
1960
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BearFan4 05/07/11 - 07:00 pm
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"UCA is becoming less of a

"UCA is becoming less of a choice for Arkansans with each passing BOT meeting."

First of all, I don't completely agree with your statement. But even if UCA is becoming less of a choice for Arkansans, it is looking a whole lot nicer to out of state students. Compared to other "large" schools in the nation, I would still say UCA is a bargain. The good thing about out of state students coming here is when it comes time for them to graduate, most of the jobs they will be looking at will be in-state. I'm glad SGA and the UCA Board of Trustees are thinking long term which will help the state of Arkansas. You can't only take into consideration short term pros and cons when making decisions such as raising tuition.

amerkraft
158
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amerkraft 05/08/11 - 08:11 am
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Don't Forget The Meadors Mansion

We need the tuition increase so that UCA has the funds to pour more tens of thousands of dollars into the Meadors Mansion remodeling project.

Plummerville76
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Plummerville76 05/08/11 - 02:25 pm
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donaghey house

i have worked in that house on donaghey and it should be torn down or turned in to a museum. i would not put my grandma in that dump. the college has let it go to the point it is not worth putting more money into. downstairs is ok, if you like mold and rotting wood butthe upstairs is the pits. do not know what the college is thinking,i would not let my family live in that moldy place, certainly not our younger kids.

sevenof400
7002
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sevenof400 05/08/11 - 06:30 pm
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@BearFan4

Your quote:

"First of all, I don't completely agree with your statement. But even if UCA is becoming less of a choice for Arkansans, it is looking a whole lot nicer to out of state students. Compared to other "large" schools in the nation, I would still say UCA is a bargain."

Wouldn't you agree that UCA should first and foremost serve the needs of our instate students? I am not against the idea of UCA offering a quality education but the prices Arkansans can afford is far less than that which other state's resident can afford.

If UCA is so attractive to out of state students, let's raise the out of state fees and costs. If UCA is that good, they will continue to pay the fees.

Arkansans are over taxed and under paid. Too many students have to mortgage their future to obtain a college degree that is of a rapidly diminishing value these days.

With respect to your quote from another aspect, it seems as if UCA wants to compare itself to the larger institutions around the country and it wants to start by raising tuition. That's putting the cart before the horse. UCA simply is not that good of an institution....yet anyway.

I'll admit UCA has a couple of niche areas it has carved out an excellent reputation in (OT/PT, Small Business come to mind) but a degree from UCA doesn't exactly swing open doors in too many boardrooms to justify the rapidly increasing costs to attend.

Charley
3
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Charley 05/08/11 - 09:00 pm
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Other schools

UCA with the announced increases is still less expensive than at least two other State School with their last year, tuition, fees, and room and board. I would bet that most, if not all of the four year schools will raise their tuition,fees and room and board this year and this might make UCA the 4 or 5 lowest in overall cost among the state four year schools. So why do you think they are pricing themselves out of the market. Do you think they can only compete with SAU and UAM?

BearFan4
1960
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BearFan4 05/09/11 - 07:10 am
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@sevenof400

"Wouldn't you agree that UCA should first and foremost serve the needs of our instate students?"

I am not going to agree with that, nor am I going to disagree. It seems that you and I both have the long term school of thought: we need to do what's best for the state of Arkansas. However, we just have two different methods of doing that. I don't know of any research that says it is better to have more in-state or out-of-state students in your school, so I cannot give you a definitive answer to your question.

As a side note, I don't know how long ago you went to college, if you ever did (not an insult, I just don't know anything about you) but I will tell you that I believe UCA is doing better than you are giving it credit for. I graduated from UCA not too long ago and I believe I got the best education in the state to say the least. No I am not working for a Fortune 500 company making six figures, but my program helped me get a job that perfectly fit my needs. And yes, I was an in-state student.

amerkraft
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amerkraft 05/09/11 - 10:47 am
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Meadors' Mansion

@Plummerville76...your accessment of the Meadors Mansion is grossly exaggerated.

UCA has spent more than $200,000 these past two years remodeling the Meadors compound trying to please Mr. and Mrs. Meadors, and it appears all that money may have been wasted. Had UCA not spent all that money fixing up the mansion perhaps tuitions wouldn't be going up so much.

In my opinion Leona will never be pleased, and the latest rumor is she wants a new mansion built to her specifications somewhere else. The physical plant employees favor that proposal too, as they're fed up trying to please the queen. Also, if the Meadors' build somewhere else then the UCA employees won't have to deal with the "mean one" so much. She's a "piece of work" who is constantly complaining and demanding, and it took less than one year for her to gain the same threatening, mean and rude reputation around UCA that she had at Pembroke.
Plummerville76, your comments sure do echo Barbara Meadors sentiments quite accurtately. Are you sure you're not related?

BuzzBy
17777
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BuzzBy 05/09/11 - 09:31 am
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I Agree
Unpublished

Let the Meador's live in the drom if they need to be so close to the campus.

The board should look at cutting waste before they start charging more so they can have a nice UCA health club on campus the kids are there to learn not workout.

ARBEAR
1285
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ARBEAR 05/09/11 - 11:19 am
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Really?

Hey amerkraft, how do you know so much about this fiasco? Do you work at the physical plant, or are you on the BOT?

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