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Edtiorial: Raising the Ante

Sept. 20, 1996

Editorial

Raising the ante

Regents' objective should attempt to minimize rising tuition costs

The issue:

The Baylor Board of Regents will be discussing next year's tuition increase at its meeting this weekend.

Our view:

We urge President Robert B. Sloan Jr. and the board to remember their intent last year to hold tuition to a reasonable rise while maintaining academic excellence.

The University's Board of Regents are on campus today, conducting their bimonthly meeting. Housecleaning and other items on the agenda will be discussed, but the one students and members of The Lariat's editorial board are most concerned about is tuition.

We have heard rumors that tuition will be raised, not just a mere piddling amount, but to the amount of 10 to 12 percent. Although at this time they are still just rumors-- contacted regents would not confirm or deny that tuition was to be raised, although they did indicate it would be discussed -- they have caused enough commotion and discussion by this point for the editorial board to feel the issue needs to be addressed.

Since 1987 tuition has increased each academic year at the University. Records obtained for the last five years show it has increased 34.5 percent, from $200 per semester hour in 1992-93 academic term to $269 per semester hour for the current academic term.

In a Lariat editorial board meeting last fall, President Robert B. Sloan Jr. discussed the 'unavoidable' increase in tuition (which was at 4.26 percent) from $258 per semester hour to $269 per semester hour, undeniably the least amount than any of the past five years.

'I am committed to a plan which will keep Baylor within the financial reach of as many of our student constituents as possible,' Sloan said in an article in the Oct. 31, 1995, issue of The Lariat.

In the editorial in that same issue, Sloan gave several reasons for the inevitability of tuition increase. One reason was that the average student did not take enough semester hours at the University.

This year, freshmen students were having to take less hours than in the past. An article in the Sept. 4 issue of The Lariat reported that the University did not have enough class capacity to accommodate its students for the hours they were advised to take.

This raises the question of where tuition and its increases are going.

Sloan said last year that no designated tuition funds went toward capital building projects. It's good to know we are not paying academic money for building the Student Life Complex or constructing offices in the Clifton Robinson Tower to accommodate the move of the offices of the Registrar and Academic Advisement.

Yet the editorial board has heard that department budgets are being cut drastically for this year, and some departments are not having the benefit of new faculty members being hired. A reason is perhaps that there was not enough class capacity.

'I am pleased that we have a financial plan that allows us to keep our tuition low and still provide the academic excellence that is characteristic of Baylor University,' Sloan said in the article.

We are, too -- we only hope it can be continued at a reasonable rate.

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