Tuition rise brings stress upon students

By on July 10, 2014
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In  June, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees approved proposed tuition increases for The University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Full-time, in-state students at the University of Alabama system’s main campus in Tuscaloosa and the sister campus in Birmingham will see a $188 per semester increase in tuition costs. Out of state students attending both universities will incur even an greater increase in tuition. For students who do not reside in the state of Alabama, the increase is $500 per semester at the University of Alabama and $413 per semester at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

This increase has proven problematic for students who work to pay for school.

“As an out of state student, that means I have to work that much harder to earn funds to pay off my tuition, which was quite staggering last year,” upcoming sophomore and Resident Assistant Nicky Haddox said.

The semester tuition rates at UAB for the 2014-2015 academic year stand at $4,640 for in-state students and $10,610 for out-of-state students, a 4% increase from last year. UAB’s tuition rates, despite the recent increase, are still lower than those of UA and UAH.

Haddox continued, “My yearly tuition just went up $1200 a year. That may not seem like a big deal to the board that approved the tuition increase, but as a student paying off what scholarship and FAFSA doesn’t cover without the financial backing of my parents, it’s a pretty big deal.”

“Tuition was one avenue that we didn’t want to take, and 4% was the most we wanted to go. We couldn’t even think higher than that,” UAB Provost Dr. Linda Lucas said. “The good news is that students are going to get a lot out of the new student wellness center. We really want to serve students as best we can.”

The proposal for increased tuition at UAB originated with the administrative office and thereafter went to the Dean for approval. During a board meeting in April, the chancellor and system officers met with representatives from UA, UAB, and UAH. Finally, at the June meeting, Executive Vice Chancellor Ray Hayes of the system office went before the Board of Trustees to present the tuition proposals for all three universities. The final decision was made there.

Dr. Lucas attributed the increase in tuition costs to a number of factors, including unforeseen expenses from the state that the university did not have control over. However, UAB’s newly undertaken projects have contributed to the hike in cost, such as expanding institutional scholarships, implementing more student engagement programs, providing raises for promoted staff members, and building new facilities on campus.

The funds allocated to UAB by the state were not sufficient to cover the expenses in the university’s budget plan, so the university decided that raising tuition was necessary to make up the difference.

“The state of Alabama gave us a 0.7% increase in state appropriations for UAB. We just didn’t have the cushion from the state,” said Dr. Lucas of the decision to raise tuition.

This is not the highest tuition rise from UAB, but it did raise concern among the students.

 

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