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Fall 2004 tuition set to increase

Sept. 19, 2003

By Marion Hixon, reporter

As of fall 2004, tuition will increase for both current and incoming Baylor students.

Continuing students who began attending Baylor before the fall of 2002 will pay $461 per semester hour, a 6.71 percent increase, and students under the flat-rate plan will pay $17,900, a 6.87 increase.

The tuition raise is not a new concept for Baylor or any institution of higher education. Enrollment rates go up a certain percentage each year, and this year's increase is close to the same percentage it was last year.

Each year when tuition is raised, Baylor's finances are taken into account along with plans to expand programs, departments or structural aspects of the university.

David Brooks, vice president for finance and administration, said that a decrease in enrollment caused by higher tuition has become a reality, but that there are other factors involved in the situation.

'Enrollment is down slightly, and tuition is a factor but not the only one.

'The economy is down, and there is still the 9-11 factor ... parents don't want their children to be far from home,' Brooks said.

Although this is the smallest percent tuition increase out of all private institutions in Texas, students still are affected by the change.

'I don't feel informed as to what the increases are, what they're used for and why it continues to go up,' Heather McAnear, a Katy junior, said. 'That's why I feel that it's unfair.'

Baylor's number of provisional students has risen from 5 percent to 14 percent in the last school year. Although this could be perceived as a move to bring in more tuition money, Brooks explained that admittance standards have risen dramatically as well. In effect, several underqualified students who were allowed in this year would not have been classified as provisional.

Flat tuition rates are becoming the norm in well-known colleges around the nation, including Rice University, the University of Notre Dame and Southern Methodist University.

Students, however, sometimes disagree with the growing trend.

'I agree more with the hourly-rate system because some people might want to take a lighter load and they end up paying more when they're under the flat-rate system,' Monley Edmond, a Houston junior, said. 'Paying for an average of 15 hours when you're only taking 12 or 13 isn't right.'

Though some are not as content with the changing financial situation, certain programs of the university will benefit greatly from the tuition hike.

'One-third of the increases in tuition are going back into scholarships,' Brooks said.