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Regents raise tuition for salaries, energy costs

Nov. 1, 2005

by ANALIZ GONZALEZ, staff writer

The Baylor Board of Regents voted Friday to raise undergraduate student tuition and fees next year from $21,070 per year to $22,714, a 7.8 percent increase.

Seminary tuition will go up 6.3 percent and law school tuition will increase 12.5 percent for all students. Room costs for undergrads will rise 7.6 percent and board rates will increase 3.1 percent.

The board also voted to cut its size from 36 members to 16 within a nine-year period.

The raises are set to increase faculty and staff compensation, restore capital budgets for classroom, lab and office equipment, and cover building maintenance and a $2.4 million increase in annual energy costs. Regent chairman Will Davis said the increase would also help support Baylor 2012, the university's 10-year plan to make Baylor a Tier-one school.

"Any time we raise tuition, we do so reluctantly," said Interim President William D. Underwood. "We simply concluded that level of tuition increase was absolutely necessary if we were going to continue providing the same quality of education that we have been providing for our students."

Underwood said the increase in tuition would fund the construction of the Brooks Village Residential Living and Learning Center if the proposal for the new residence facility passes.

Tuition increased by 6.5 percent in 2005, 7.4 percent in 2004 and 7.3 percent in 2003.

Underwood said faculty have taken small or no pay raises for the past three years, and the board wants to have revenue available to compensate them next year. A decision on faculty pay raises will be made at the April regents meeting.

"We wanted to make sure we have the revenue available to provide more significant pay increases than we have had in past years," Underwood said. "I think most students would support that. ... And I think most students would understand our desire to appropriately compensate those people."

Student Body Internal Vice President Scott Beggs, who attended regent committee meetings Thursday, said he understands the university is trying to prosper with a bigger vision, but don't want the students to pay for all the growth.

"Right now the school is 80 percent tuition-based and that's unacceptable," he said. "We'd like to see regents find other avenues of fundraising rather than using the crutch of tuition-based and that's unacceptable," he said. "We'd like to see regents find other avenues of fundraising rather than using the crutch of tuition to pay for all their projects."

Student Body External Vice President Katie Weiss said the student government representatives told regents they understood the need to raise tuition, but they urged them to pursue other avenues of funding.

"We were very adamant on the fact that we wanted to see regents seek out (funding) in other areas," Weiss said. They also requested that a letter be sent to parents of Baylor students explaining the increase.

Weiss, Beggs and Student Body President Mark Laymon supported the administration's decision to use the extra revenue to hire new faculty. They also suggested that the money be used for classroom renovations.