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story.lead_photo.caption UA proposed tuition/mandatory fees

Increases in mandatory student fees at schools within the University of Arkansas System would be "mostly for targeted projects," UA System President Donald Bobbitt told trustees Wednesday.

The five four-year universities within the UA System will not raise tuition for the coming 2018-19 academic year after Gov. Asa Hutchinson in January asked public universities to hold the line on any increases with state funding increasing to higher education.

State lawmakers in March, as part of budget legislation, approved $9.4 million in extra funding to implement what's been called a productivity-based funding formula partly based on the number of credentials earned by students.

But each of the UA System four-year universities has proposed raising fees.

The 10-person University of Arkansas board of Trustees heard Bobbitt talk about the rates at a meeting Wednesday, with a committee approving the rate changes.

The full board will meet again today at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and consider the committee's vote.

Rising fees would cause annual tuition and mandatory fee costs to rise by $630 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, to $7,841.50 in 2018-19 compared with $7,211.50.

Other universities would see more modest increases, with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock seeing an increase of $503.10 under the proposal and others seeing lower increases.

Bobbitt told trustees that UAPB Chancellor Laurence Alexander "is looking to retool the student experience, including the experience for student-athletes." Bobbitt said he asked Alexander to "commit to the board that he would not increase the fee while the students are resident there for the next four years."

Like most schools, UAPB charges several fees to students. The total increase in mandatory fees proposed for 2018-19 includes a new proposed "student success fee" that amounts to $60 annually for a typical 30-hour schedule, as well as rate increases for other existing fees.

Bobbitt said fee increases at UA System schools relate to implementation of new Enterprise Resource Project information technology.

The project "has the potential to save the System between $60-90 million once fully implemented," Bobbitt said, but investments have to be made "at the front end."

Bobbitt said relatively modest tuition increases in recent years, combined with state support being "relatively flat" means that "the only source really of funding for us to be able to engage in this project is through a fee increase."

Metro on 05/24/2018

Print Headline: UA's Bobbitt urges fees at schools target projects

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