LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees on Thursday approved tuition and fee hikes at colleges and universities in the University of Arkansas System.
The increases, approved by a board committee on Wednesday, come as the schools become more reliant on tuition and fees as state appropriations drop. System spokesman Nate Hinkel said the full board approved the increases on a unanimous vote.
The proposed increases for the 2017-18 school year range from 2.24 percent for the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope to 8.02 percent at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
University campuses in Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Pine Bluff requested tuition and fee hikes, while campuses in Little Rock and Monticello asked for only increased fees. Some community colleges, including the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, also requested fee and tuition increases.
Trustee Cliff Gibson of Monticello expressed concern during Wednesday’s hearing about students who are taking out loans to pay their way through school.
“Maybe nobody believes in investing in our kids anymore with our tax dollars, but I think it’s time we need to start thinking about it,” Gibson said during Wednesday’s hearing. “Everyone on this board, our parents and our folks and our state government made it possible for us to go to college, and when we got out, we’d buy houses. We were doing things.”
University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt said campus chancellors began discussing higher rates in January.
The campuses are required to put one-half percent of any tuition and fee increase into a system software project that’ll hold all student-services, financial and human-resource information.