University Of Arkansas Proposes Higher Fees, Flat Tuition

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A University of Arkansas System proposal is calling for flat tuition and increased mandatory fees for in-state students at four-year schools.

The proposed tuition and fee rates were released Monday (May 21) ahead of this week’s system board of trustees meeting in Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .

Increasing fees would cause annual costs to rise by more than $500 in the 2018-19 year for students at the Pine Bluff and Little Rock campuses. Pine Bluff would see annual tuition-and-fee costs rise up to more than $7,840, while Little Rock would see such costs increase to nearly $9,440.

The Fayetteville, Fort Smith and Monticello campuses would see more modest increases in mandatory fees.

The proposal comes after Gov. Asa Hutchinson asked the state’s public universities in January to halt any in-state tuition increases for the 2018-19 school year. Hutchinson noted to universities an increase in funding for higher education as part of a change in the funding model for public colleges and universities.

Lawmakers in March approved $9.4 million in extra funding to implement what they call a productivity-based funding formula, based partly on how many credentials students earn.

It’s unclear when all universities in the UA System last kept tuition unchanged, said Nate Hinkel, system spokesman.

Temporary tuition freezes have occurred in other states, said Sandy Baum, an Urban Institute fellow studying college affordability.

Despite some states enacting such freezes, “what doesn’t happen very often is that tuition stays flat for years on end,” Baum said.

She said college affordability is affected by factors like financial aid to students and family incomes, as well as state funding for public higher education.

“In the most recent years, the amount of financial aid available hasn’t been enough to make up for the price increase,” Baum said. She said generally “college prices are certainly not going down.”

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