TWU looks at tuition increase

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Texas Woman’s University is proposing a 3.95 percent increase to board-designated tuition.

On Tuesday, TWU officials explained to students six proposed areas where tuition and fees could change in the upcoming semesters after the TWU Board of Regents vote on Feb. 22.

There are two types of tuition — state tuition, which has been $50 per semester credit hour since 2003, and board-designated tuition, which the regents set.

TWU is planning to increase board-designated tuition by $8.36 per semester credit hour, said Brenda Floyd, vice president of finance and administration at TWU. The increase would go into effect in the summer.

That would bring the total cost per semester credit hour from $121.84 to $130.20.

An average student taking 30 hours per year would pay $7, 301 in tuition and fees.

TWU isn’t expecting a large increase in funds from the Texas Legislature, but it will still have to keep up with faculty needs, salaries and software licensing.

The $2.2 million in revenue from the proposed increase would help pay for those needs.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation board has suggested TWU put a plan in place to add more faculty members to keep up with more students taking more credit hours. TWU is currently going through SACS reaffirmation of accreditation process and will meet with officials in April.

In 2004, TWU students took 226,000 credit hours and, at this point, students are taking more than 330,000 credit hours, said Robert Neely, provost and vice president of academic affairs.

The number of faculty has increased by two, from 450 in 2007 to 452 in 2013.

“It’s time to add faculty,” he said.

TWU plans to add 18 faculty members in four years, starting with six new faculty members next year, Neely said. That would mean 60 percent of classes are being taught by tenure or tenure-track faculty, he said.

Floyd told students that salaries haven’t been raised in two years. The university has given one-time stipends each of those years, but TWU salaries are becoming less competitive, she said.

“It’s taken time to fill a position because our salary is not competitive,” she said.

Adriana Blanco, the student regent, said TWU is trying to keep up with the overall costs of the university.

Students expect a quality education and that means TWU needs good faculty, Blanco said.

Another area that TWU needs to keep up with is paying for software licenses such as Blackboard, a program used by many classes that increases in cost by about 10 percent a year, she told students.

Another area that could see some changes is differential tuition, which is different than board-designated tuition and depends on the student’s area of study.

It pays for the increased cost of the study area because of technology costs or material costs.

Currently, the dental hygiene, nursing and physical therapy departments have differential tuition costs.

The differential tuition for dental hygiene could increase from $5 to $20 per semester credit hour. And for nursing it could increase from $25 to $35 per semester credit hour.

Students in the school of management, department of communication sciences, school of library and information studies, department of health studies and department of fashion and textiles could now pay differential tuition.

Master’s students in the school of management could have a differential tuition of $40 per semester credit hour.

Master’s students in the department of communication sciences could have a differential tuition of $10 per semester credit hour. Master’s and doctorate students in the school of library and information studies could pay $10 per semester credit hour.

Undergraduate and graduate students in the department of health studies could pay $40 per semester credit hour. And undergraduate students in the department of fashion and textiles could pay $10 per semester credit hour.

Besides tuition increases, TWU also is proposing some fee changes. The new fees would go into effect in the fall.

The union fee, which is a flat fee that’s not based on semester credit hours, could increase $3 per semester.

“That is primarily because of maintenance needs,” said Richard Nicholas, vice president of student life.

The fitness and recreation fee could be lowered by $2 a semester, which would help offset the union fee, Nicholas said.

He said the new fitness and recreation building was less expensive than the university anticipated.

Room and board rates would also increase an average of about 3 percent, he told students at the meeting Tuesday. And meal plans would increase 2 percent because of rising food costs, Nicholas said.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .

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