Regents Approve 10-Year Vision, New Tuition Structure

Sept. 21, 2001

by Larry D. Brumley

WACO -- Baylor University's Board of Regents at its September meeting today unanimously approved an ambitious 10-year vision and adopted a new tuition structure designed to help fund the initiative and align the institution's pricing system with its peer universities. The board also adopted a resolution of commitment and compassion in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attack. The resolution will be forwarded to President George W. Bush, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

The 10-year vision, which has been developed over the past 12 months with input from faculty, staff, students, alumni and regents, calls for Baylor to aspire to what few institutions have achieved. Within the course of a decade, Baylor intends to enter the top tier of American universities while maintaining its distinctive Christian mission. The 10-year vision document, which will be released publicly Oct. 26 during Homecoming, outlines how the University will achieve new levels of excellence in its academic and community life while remaining faithful to its 156-year-old mission.

Among the highlights of the vision are reductions in the student-faculty ratio from 19:1 to 13:1; recruitment and retention of world-class faculty and students; creation of an Honors College and School of Communication; strengthening and expansion of the Graduate School; addition of 120 new classes per semester that focus on the "great texts"; construction of additional residential life facilities that will add 1,800 beds; and increasing the University's endowment to $2 billion.

"The Board of Regents today approved a very important document incorporating the core convictions, assumptions and imperatives that comprise the 10-year vision," said Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. "It is neither a long-range nor a strategic plan. Plans will emerge from the vision in the months and years to come. Rather it is our attempt to fast-forward 10 years and imagine what Baylor would look like if we could be all that we aspire to become. This vision is challenging. It will stretch us. But it can be accomplished with the participation of our regents, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends."

Effective with the fall 2002 semester, entering full-time freshmen and transfer students will pay a flat tuition rate -- before scholarships and grants are applied -- of $15,700 a year, regardless of the number of semester hours they take. Most private institutions that Baylor competes with for students have a flat-rate tuition structure.

The board also voted to limit future tuition increases for current students to 6.8 percent, for up to four additional years. Next year's room and board fees will increase by 4.8 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. The general student and technology fees will increase by 5.9 percent.

"Under the new pricing structure, some students will actually pay less than they would under the current structure because we will be doubling all categories of our merit scholarships," Dr. Sloan said. "For example, an incoming Presidential Scholar taking 18 hours a semester will pay 6.7 percent less that the current tuition structure allows. With the additional scholarship support, we believe Baylor will be even more accessible for the most deserving students."

Dr. Sloan noted that Baylor's costs will remain below the average tuition for private institutions in Texas and well below the average of private peer institutions in the first and second tiers of the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Baylor is currently ranked in the second tier with most other Big 12 institutions.

"I am very grateful to the regents, faculty, staff, students, alumni and other friends of the University who contributed to the 10-year vision," Dr. Sloan said. "The yearlong process not only yielded a vision worthy of our aspirations, but provided a unifying experience as we shared our collective dreams for Baylor. The excitement that has been generated by the 10-year vision demonstrates its resonance within the Baylor community, and we look forward to sharing it with our alumni, parents, students, donors and other friends in the days and weeks to come."

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