Weber State University President Ann Millner met with student leaders Monday to explain why the university is planning another round of tuition hikes for the 2012-13 school year.
Millner projected a 1-3 percent tuition increase depending on the budget the Utah state legislature approves for the upcoming fiscal year. The increase will amount to $19-$57 per semester for a full-time undergraduate with residency. Even with the increases, Millner said WSU tuition is still lower than the average of peer institutions in the region and the lowest in the state.
Millner said state funding has declined by 30 percent per student in the last five years. In dollars, this means the state spent $5,728 for each WSU student during the 2007-08 school year and will only spend $3,954 per student for the current school year. To compensate for this trend, Millner said the university has become more efficient and increased tuition to an amount equaling half of the budget losses from the legislature.
A major reason for the decline in funding per student, is an enrollment increase of about 7,000 since fall 2007. Millner said that because WSU is expected to function as both the community college and the university of Northern Utah, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to set an enrollment cap. Even with the growth, Millner said WSU has kept the student to teacher ratio at a modest 22:1.
Millner’s PowerPoint presentation indicated mandated costs could increase anywhere from $234,000 to $1,254,000 next year while student support costs could go up $60,000-$268,000 and computing enhancements could cost as much as $320,000.
Millner said WSU needs to make technology investments to provide a backbone for new computing services.