The majority of University of Arkansas System institutions are proposing increases in tuition and mandatory fees for 2023-2024, and those rates will be considered by the UA System Board of Trustees during meetings this week in Mena.
"Like most sectors of the economy, higher education is dealing with higher inflation, while state funding has remained relatively flat during recent years," said Nate Hinkel, director of communications for the UA System.
The Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) rose 5.2% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, and "our campuses are continuing to see rising costs while attempting to balance operational needs and providing affordable education to our students. When you also factor in attendance concerns with the coming enrollment cliff, inflation's impact on all employees, and growing needs such as deferred maintenance, we feel our campuses have done a good job of striving to keep proposed increases in tuition and fees at modest levels."
Tuition would again remain flat for Arkansans at the system's flagship -- and the state's largest university -- UA-Fayetteville, according to the proposal. But mandatory fees would rise at the university.
The highest university tuition increases by percentage -- if approved by trustees -- would be at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and University of Arkansas at Monticello.
Undergraduate students generally take 15 credit hours per semester, 30 hours per year, and UA-Fayetteville proposes no change to this year's annual tuition of $7,665.30 for in-state students.
The price per semester credit hour for the typical undergraduate Arkansan would remain the same as last year, $255.51, although prices would rise slightly in some areas -- such as the schools of architecture, business, and nursing -- that have additional fees, according to the university.
The charge per semester credit hour would also rise for non-resident undergraduates, from $847.32 to $889.68.
Tuition per credit hour for graduate students -- whether Arkansans or not -- would not rise, except in a couple of specific areas, according to the university. For example, new graduate students in-state would pay about $11 more per credit hour for engineering education than they did last year.
Several of the university's mandatory fees for all students would also increase, for a total net annual increase of 4.61%, from $1,990.27 to $2,082.07, according to the proposal. The facilities fee per semester credit hour would rise from $21.85 to $23.35, the library fee would be up a quarter to $4.41, the network and data systems fee would be up a dollar to $12.10, the transit fee would be up from $3.38 to $3.62, and the student activity fee for undergraduates would rise from $2.82 to $2.95, according to the proposal. But the student activity fee for graduate and law students wouldn't change.
Mandatory fees for students in specific colleges would be mostly flat, with a couple of exceptions. For example, the mandatory fee per semester credit hour in the Dale Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food, and Life Sciences would be up from $25.70 to $27.20.
The university would continue to not charge any credit hour fees for supporting intercollegiate athletic programs, as Razorback athletics remain self-supporting.
At UAPB, tuition would increase 7.45% for the average student, from $5,640 to $6,060. The price for undergraduate in-state students per semester credit hour would rise $14, to $202; increase from $427 to $469 for undergraduate non-residents; $238 to $260 for graduate residents; and $540 to $581 for graduate non-residents.
Mandatory fees, however, would remain mostly stable, with the transportation fee -- paid only by on-campus students -- up from $1.50 to $2 per semester credit hour and the student success fee going from $2 to $2.36. In total, mandatory fees would be up less than a percentage point, from $2,933.50 to $2,959.30.
Tuition at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock would be nearly stable, increasing only 1.62%, from $6,495 to $6,600. Undergraduate residents would pay $4 more ($220) per semester credit hour, non-resident undergrads would pay $10 more ($635), graduate and professional residents would see an increase from $320 to $325, and non-resident graduates and professionals would pay $737 instead of $725, but law students won't see any increase.
There would be no increases to any mandatory fees at UALR, remaining at $3,033.60 total.
UA-Monticello is proposing a 6% tuition increase, from $5,091 to $5,400. The price per semester credit hour for undergraduate residents would increase from $169.70 to $180, for undergraduate non-residents, the price would go from $364.70 to $370, and graduate residents and non-residents would see a $4 increase, to $285 and $530, respectively.
Fees would be up 3.82%, from $3,340 to $3,467.50. Per credit hour, the facilities fee would be up $2 to $20, the deferred maintenance fee would be up $1.75 to $15, and the technology infrastructure fee would increase from $22.50 to $23.
UA-Fort Smith is planning to increase tuition, but not for students who enrolled prior to the fall of 2022.
UA-Fort Smith lost a local tax revenue source that had been in place since it was a community college, so the university is having to account for that shortfall, said Ben Beaumont, senior director of policy and public affairs for the UA System.
For students enrolled as of fall 2022, tuition would increase 7.43%, from $5,250 to $5,640. Fees are also jumping roughly 8%, from $2,734 to $2,953.50.
The student health fee is increasing $1, to $33, per semester credit hour, the activity fee would rise $1.50 to $16.50, the technology fee would do likewise, the infrastructure fee would be up $1.25 to $7, the facilities fee would be up $1.50 to $6.50, and the instructional technology fee would increase $2 to $17.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is proposing no tuition changes in the College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy. However, tuition would increase in the College of Nursing and College of Health Professions.
Tuition per credit hour for Arkansas residents in the traditional BSN and RN to BSN undergraduate program would rise $6, to $324, or $13 (to $645), for non-residents. Tuition per credit hour for residents in the accelerated BSN undergraduate program -- at the Northwest Arkansas campus -- would be up $7, to $357, and up $13, to $645, for non-residents. In the graduate program, tuition per credit hour would be up $9, to $495, and $18, to $888, for residents and non-residents, respectively.
Tuition per credit hour for Arkansas residents in the College of Health Professions would be up $5, to $265, while non-residents would pay $12 more, at $607. Non-residents in the graduate program would pay $17 more per credit hour, at $852, while residents would see an $8 increase, at $394.
Since 2015, tuition in the College of Medicine has increased to a point where the college is above the regional median, but beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year, residents in border states Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee will be charged in-state rates, according to UAMS. "This will increase our ability to attract high caliber students [who] will enrich the program, elevate our rankings, and increase the likelihood that we are attracting students who will stay in the area."
The College of Pharmacy increased tuition by 5% last year and wants to remain competitive within the region, hence no increases this year, according to UAMS. The Graduate School and College of Public Health also opted to keep tuition steady because current tuition is competitive in the region.
The College of Nursing's tuition increase will keep it competitive with other nursing programs in the state and region, according to UAMS. Compared with other nursing colleges in the state and region, the BSN program is slightly higher in cost, while the graduate programs are below the average in annual cost.
Fees related to all colleges would remain mostly stable, with a couple of exceptions. Most notably, the fee charged to students actively engaged in a degree program but not enrolled in credit-bearing courses/activities, preparing to fulfill graduation requirements, and/or awaiting completion of final licensure tests, would increase $50 to $300 "due to the increased number of students in dual degree programs and corresponding teaching and administration of these programs."
For Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, tuition for in-district students would increase 2.67%, from $2,250 to $2,310. The price per semester credit hour for in-district students would increase $2, to $77.
In-state, out-of-district students would pay $3 more ($91) than last year, and out-of-state students would pay $5 more at $145 -- credit hours are capped at 15 per semester. (Residents of Shelby County, Tenn., and Mississippi's Coahoma, Tunica, Quitman, DeSoto, and Bolivar counties pay the "out-of-district" rate.)
Fees would increase 7%, from $860 to $920, driven by the student services fee per credit hour jumping from $2 to $8.
For the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana, tuition would increase 6.76%, from $2,220 to $2,370, for in-district students. The charge per semester credit hour would be up $5 for in-district students, to $79, while out-of-district students would pay $10 more, at $95, out-of-state students would see the same $10 jump, to $131, and online courses/distance education would be up $12, to $131.
There would be no increases in mandatory fees charged to all students from last year, however, remaining level at $1,030.
For the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, in-district tuition would increase 6.33%, from $2,370 to $2,520. Rates would be up $5 per semester credit hour from last year, meaning in-district students would pay $84, while out-of-district students would pay $99, and out-of-state students would pay $125.
Fees would increase from $1,080 to $1,920 due to a significant rise in the technology fee. The Activities/Auxiliary/Facilities Fee -- renamed the Activity/Wellness Assessment Fee -- would actually decrease $2, to $7, per semester, but the Safety Fee -- renamed the Facility/Safety Fee -- would increase from $5 to $15 per credit hour, the technology fee would be up $20 to $35 per credit hour, and the administrative services fee would rise $10 to $15 per semester.
Online courses had been $120 per semester credit hour, but as more students take online classes, the college is standardizing course costs, so all courses would now charge the same tuition rate whether online or in person, Beaumont said. That change is the reason for the $20 increase per credit hour on the school's technology fee.
For the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, in-district tuition would increase 5.15%, from $2,910 to $3,060. Students in district and out of district would each pay $5 more per semester credit hour, at $102 and $112, respectively, while tuition would remain steady for out-of-state, international, and off-campus, concurrent-enrolled students.
Fees would increase 4.76%, from $1,260 to $1,320, based on the campus improvement fee increasing from $15 to $17 per credit hour.
At Cossatot Community College, in-district tuition would be up 3.9%, from $2,310 to $2,400. In-district students, which includes those from the counties of Sevier, Howard, and Little River, would pay $3 more than last year per semester credit hour, at $80, while other students would pay $4 more per semester credit hour, with the rate at $94 for out-of-district students, $109 for out-of-state students, $99 for internet students out of the service area, and $94 for LPN to RN Transition students.
Fees would be up 8%, from $1,500 to $1,620. The academic support fee would increase $3, to $11, per credit hour, while the critical maintenance fee would be up $1, to $9, per credit hour.
At the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College, tuition would increase 2.9%, from $4,140 to $4,260. The rate per semester credit hour for in-state students would be up $4, to $142, from last year, while out-of-state students would pay $242, $63 more than last year.
Fees would increase 7.14%, from $1,680 to $1,800. The student support services fee would increase $1, to $5 per credit hour, while a $5 per credit hour property maintenance fee and a $47 per credit hour general student fee would be dropped. However, the college would add a $55 facility/IT/security fee.
For in-district students, tuition at the UA Community College at Rich Mountain -- which is hosting this week's UA System trustees meeting -- would increase 1.18%, from $2,550 to $2,580. The college is adding $1 per semester credit hour for almost all students, as in-district students would pay $86, out-of-district, $100, out-of-state, $110, LPN to RN (in district), $135, LPN to RN (out of district), $150, and LPN to RN (out of state), $183.
Fees would be up nearly 9%, from $1,680 to $1,830. The technology fee and the program support fee, at $15 and $6, respectively, would each be up $1, while the building fee will be up $3 per credit hour, to $9.
At the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, tuition per semester credit hour for the Masters of Public Service will increase from $432 to $472.
This increase is the first year of a plan to adjust tuition over three years, according to the Clinton School. Since the Clinton School launched in the fall of 2005, tuition has increased only once.
Tuition and fees would remain stable at the UA System Criminal Justice Institute.
The same is true for the University of Arkansas Grantham, the system's online school, with annual tuition of $8,850 and fees of $1,500.