Dec. 7, 2015
There are many reasons why you chose The University of Texas at Austin for your education, and I know our reputation for academic excellence was an important factor. To ensure the high level of quality at UT, we must continue to invest in your success, academic programs, faculty and staff, and facilities.
Today, I submitted to The University of Texas System my recommendation for a tuition increase of 3.1 percent in 2016-17 and 3.0 percent in 2017-18. The recommendation is based on the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) proposal and the consultative process that has taken place on campus for the past several weeks. The committee recommended a 3-percent increase. In addition, in consultation with student leaders, I have included an additional $5 per semester to replace the soon-to-be discontinued Environmental Services Fee ("Green Fee") based on the widespread support among students for the sustainability program funded by the Green Fee.
The UT System and Board of Regents will review my recommendation. It applies to Texas resident undergraduate students, non-resident undergraduate students, and graduate and professional school students. For example, the recommended total tuition increase for resident undergraduate students is $152 per long semester for the 2016-17 academic year and an additional $152 a semester for 2017-18. If approved by the Board of Regents, this would be the first tuition increase for resident undergraduates since fall 2011.
Tuition increases should be used to advance priorities that most impact students, so the additional revenues will be for student success programs: improving the four-year graduation rate, providing supplemental academic support and ensuring students have more opportunities to succeed on campus. In addition, some of the funds will help UT recruit and retain excellent and diverse faculty.
I want you to know that I do not take lightly the issue of raising tuition. Families are counting their dollars and expect us to keep UT affordable and accessible to students from all backgrounds. To that end, we will identify areas where we can reduce costs and reallocate existing funds to academic priorities. In addition, we will be able to increase financial aid for students most in need.
To those of you who submitted comments and concerns to the TPAC at the public forums or online, I thank you for your participation in this process. In my State of the University address I pledged to be a president who listens, and I appreciate the open dialogue we have.
Thank you for your hard work and dedication to your education. I wish you the best success in final exams and your classes. I hope you each have Happy Holidays!
Gregory L. Fenves