By Mary Ann Roser
Published: 8:56 p.m. Friday, March 18, 2011
As the University of Texas System grapples with tighter budgets and expected losses in state aid, UT regents agreed Friday to raise tuition at its medical, dental and nursing health campuses this fall.
The increases at UT’s four medical schools would range from $1,000 to $2,000 a year, with students at the Health Science Center at Houston seeing the highest increase, 16 percent .
That school’s tuition is the lowest among UT’s medical schools at $12,509 a year. Raising it to $14,509 would gradually close the gap with the other medical schools where tuition now ranges from $14,875 at the Medical Branch at Galveston to $15,793 at the Health Science Center at San Antonio.
System officials said the increases are needed in part to help the system’s campuses remain competitive. Several presidents of the health campuses said in letters to the regents that raising tuition also would help mitigate anticipated losses in state money.
In March 2010, before a state shortfall of $23 billion over the next two years came into focus, UT officials asked the health campus presidents to recommend tuition and fees for the 2011-12 academic year. The presidents recommended the increases after meeting with faculty and students.
The UT System board approved their proposals with just one “no” vote: Regent Wallace Hall Jr. of Dallas, who said he was worried about the impact on students.
“I’m concerned about our access to underrepresented groups,” such as low-income students and minorities, Hall said. “To the extent that we can keep a lid on it, that would be my goal.”
UT Executive Vice Chancellor Kenneth Shine said tuition was relatively low at UT medical schools in comparison with their peers nationally. For instance, at Ohio State University, it’s $30,948 a year, and at the University of California, Los Angeles, it’s $28,162 a year, documents UT provided show.
“This (increase) still leaves us well below the national averages for medical schools,” Shine told the regents.
Tuition at the UT System schools will range from 47 to 62 percent of the average cost at U.S. public medical schools, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said in a written statement.
Student Regent Kyle Kalkwarf, a fourth-year medical student at the Health Science Center at San Antonio, said that he spoke with medical students at the various campuses. They supported the increases and understood that they were needed to maintain quality and hold onto faculty, Kalkwarf said. “The students know what a deal we’re getting.”
Regent Alex Cranberg of Austin said he wanted the board to come up with a more systematic way to assess student feedback. He also said he wanted campuses to devise more detailed plans on spending tuition increases, rather than presenting broad outlines, as most campuses did this time.
At UT’s two dental schools, where tuition is higher than at the medical schools, regents approved increases of about $1,500, raising tuition to $19,571 a year at the Houston school and to $22,575 at the San Antonio school.
In the nursing and health professions programs attached to health science centers, tuition increases ranged from 3.6 percent at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where the undergraduate health professions program would cost $4,623 a year starting in the fall, to 33.4 percent at Houston, where the master’s-level nursing program will cost $2,729 a semester.
In addition to approving the tuition increases, the board approved two appointments to its investment arm, the University of Texas Investment Management Co. It reappointed Charles W. Tate to another three-year term, which ends April 1,
2014, and named James P. Wilson, vice chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, to a three-year term.
The regents postponed scheduled presentations from special committees on online learning and productivity and excellence.
University of Texas System annual tuition and fees
UT System regents voted Friday on tuition and fee increases at its medical campuses that are effective in the fall for new students.
Existing students at some campuses would see lesser increases.
2010-11 2011-12 % change
Southwestern $15,640 $16,640 6.4%
Medical Branch $14,875 $15,875 6.7%
Health Science-Houston $12,509 $14,509 16%
Health Science-San Antonio $15,793 $16,855 6.7%
Health Science-Houston $18,071 $19,571 8.3%
Health Science-San Antonio $21,013 $22,575 7.4%
Health professions programs
Southwestern $4,985 $5,225 4.8%
Medical Branch $5,463 $5,913 8.2%
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center $4,462 $4,623 3.6%
Health Science-San Antonio varies
Medical Branch $3,184/$3,646 $3,422/$3,893 7.5% /6.8%
Health Science-Houston $3,082/$2,045 $3,322/$2,729 7.8%/33.4%
Health Science-San Antonio $3,430/$3,316 $3,680/$3,719 7.3%/12.2%
*Per-semester costs; 15-credit hour undergraduate/12-credit hour master’s programs
Source: University of Texas System
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