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UNT upping tuition for certain programs

University of North Texas students in the College of Music, College of Engineering and the College of Business will pay additional tuition starting in fall 2018. 

The UNT Board of Regents approved increases that vary by college based on their needs. For undergraduate students, the increases are: 6.5 percent for the College of Music; 4.3 percent for the College of Engineering and 6.5 percent for the College of Business. For graduate students, the increases are more drastic: 20 percent for the College of Music; 26.3 percent for the College of Engineering; and 22 percent for the College of Business.

The model is called differential tuition, which allows targeted growth of programs that are more costly than others, UNT President Neal Smatresk said. Other schools across the state and country are using this model, particularly research universities.

"What we're hoping to do now is by subsidizing programs that we'd say are 'net receivers,' we'll be able to grow and grow the programs that have been 'net donors,'" he said. "This money goes back to where it should go, which is the experience, faculty members and student performance."

For a business or music undergraduate, semester credit hours will increase by $15, from $230.11 to $245.11. For engineering students, it's $10 more per semester credit hour, going from $230.11 to $240.11. To be considered a full-time student, a person must take at least 12 credit hours per semester. 

At the graduate level, students currently pay $227.79 per semester credit hour. For engineering students, this will increase by $60. College of Business graduate students will pay $50 more per credit hour. Music students will pay $45 more than this year. 

Regents pushed back during discussions of the increases but still voted unanimously for the raise. G. Brint Ryan, chairman of the board, said tuition should be as low as possible, especially as the UNT System continues efforts to decrease administrative and service costs.  

Smatresk told the regents to keep up with peers and maintain accreditation, the student-to-faculty ratios need to be better at these colleges. Without raising tuition, there isn't another way to pay for it. 

"Our revenue growth is either from the state or tuition, that's it," he said. "Without making the adjustment, reputation slides." 

For the engineering and business schools, this will allow the university to add professors. For music, it primarily will fund soundproofing the classroom spaces, said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, provost and vice president for academic affairs. Right now, classes can only be in every other room because of the noise. 

The graduate increases are more steep because salaries for doctoral students are well below market level right now, Evans-Cowley said. 

The board approved other cost increases at the meeting Friday — an increase to the recreational facility fee and increase to room and board rates that will start in fall 2018. 

The rec fee will fund improvements to the recreation center, and now will be $85.78 per semester, up $7.78 from the current fee. 

Room and board will increase 3.7 percent to help fund the new housing projects on campus. Meal plans will increase 3.7 percent as well to fund increased food costs and the new dining hall.

Also at the meeting, the board voted unanimously to name Lee Jackson chancellor emeritus and will name the UNT System building at 1901 Main St. in Dallas after him. Jackson stepped down from the post in September and will formally retire at the end of December. 

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.