UW Tuition, Fee Hikes Target Students Experience

March 23, 2012
Students exiting campus building
Tuition and fees for resident undergraduates at the University of Wyoming are expected to remain the lowest among the nation's 150 public doctoral institutions, even after tuition increases approved today (Friday) by the UW Board of Trustees. (UW Photo)

University of Wyoming students will see improved libraries, classroom technology and instructional equipment and supplies as a result of a tuition increase approved today (Friday) by the UW Board of Trustees.

Trustees voted to raise tuition for resident undergraduate and graduate students by 2 percent in each of the 2013 and 2014 academic years, while nonresidents will see their tuition rise 4.5 percent each of those two years.

Additionally, the board approved annual student fee increases. Most notable is an increase over the next two years to cover UW's share of a $27 million renovation and expansion of Half Acre Gym into a modern student health and wellness center. Last fall, UW's student government approved a resolution in support of renovating and expanding the recreational facility, including a fee increase.

Annual tuition and fees for full-time undergraduate students will rise from $4,125 at present to $4,278 in 2013, one of the smallest increases approved or being considered by public universities in the region -- and still ranking UW's tuition and fees for resident undergraduates as the lowest among the nation's 150 public doctoral institutions, prior to action taken at other institutions.

"UW enjoys one of the highest levels of state appropriation support among public universities nationwide. That support has allowed us to keep our tuition rates low, and that will continue to be the case," UW President Tom Buchanan says. "I believe that these modest increases demonstrate that we are committed to keeping the cost of attending UW highly affordable for our students."

The tuition increase is expected to generate a total of $3.5 million over the next two years. That money will go toward four priorities that directly affect students:

  • Increasing UW's library resources to support membership in the Greater Western Library Alliance.
  • Maintaining technological upgrades to UW classrooms.
  • Supporting instructional excellence through items, including new microscopes and other lab and studio equipment, writing and math lab improvements, and undergraduate research opportunities.
  • Improving the student pipeline in science, technology, engineering and math.

"These increases will contribute directly to students' educational experience," says Jim Neiman of Hulett, president of the UW Board of Trustees. "We don't take any tuition increase lightly, and this action is being taken to achieve specific improvements that will help students."

Under the plan approved by trustees, tuition will increase by the same rates for the professional programs that have their own tuition rates: the law school, the master's of business administration program in the College of Business, and the pharmacy program in the College of Health Sciences. A new doctoral program in nursing also has a differential tuition rate.

Additionally, the board approved a four-year transition plan to bring tuition for nonresident students in UW's Outreach School to the same level as on-campus nonresidents. At present, all Outreach School students pay resident tuition.

The fee increases approved by the board will amount to about $93 per year for each full-time student in the 2013 academic year and an additional $67 in 2014. The Half Acre Gym project is responsible for most of those increases: That project will result in a $50 rise in 2013 and an additional $34 in 2014. The Associated Students of the University of Wyoming (ASUW) had supported an increase of $120 per student annually for the project, but only $84 will be necessary, largely because the Wyoming State Legislature increased the state's contribution to the project from an expected $12 million to $15 million.

Students will see an annual $25 increase to provide additional support for a broad array of athletics needs. UW student fees supporting intercollegiate athletics are among the lowest in the Mountain West Conference and among regional universities with Division I athletics programs.

Other fee increases are intended to cover increases in employer-paid health insurance premiums for UW's self-sustaining operations, and to transfer the SafeRide program from ASUW to UW Transit and Parking Services.

According to a recently released report by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), tuition and fees at UW in recent years have increased at a much lower rate than other universities in the. Tuition rose about 5 percent for UW's resident and nonresident undergraduates, as well as graduate students, in each of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, after several years of no increases for resident undergraduates.

When adjusted for inflation, the increase in average resident undergraduate tuition in the region was 44.7 percent from 2006-07 to 2011-12, according to WICHE. At UW, that inflation-adjusted increase was just 4.3 percent.

"While the vast majority of our fellow institutions in the region and across the country have turned to student tuition to sustain their operations during a time of economic distress, we in Wyoming have been fortunate to avoid that scenario," Buchanan says. "UW remains a tremendous value for our students due to the support of our elected officials and our commitment to academic excellence."



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