CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees approved several agenda items during their board meeting Friday, including a tuition and fees increase for students.
The board approved a 3.86% increase in tuition/fees for undergraduate students and 3.71% increase for graduate students for the fiscal year 2014-2015.
The board explained the increases by saying:
General Registration (Tuition): For undergraduate students, the current tuition rate (the general registration fee) is $191.50 per credit hour. For graduate students, the current tuition rate is $235.96 per credit hour. Based upon a review of the needs of the university and in order to prepare the proposed operating budget for the university for the next academic year, the administration proposes that tuition for undergraduate students be increased by $5.75 per credit hour, which would make the hourly tuition rate $197.25. For graduate students, the administration proposes an increase of $7.08 per credit hour, which would make the hourly tuition rate $243.04.
Justification: The proposed general tuition rate reflects a 3% increase. If approved, this increase will generate approximately $1.6 million in additional revenue for the operating budget, assuming the same enrollment of full-time equivalent students as the previous academic year (2012-13). As described more fully in the budget summary, the additional revenue will be applied toward an overall 2% salary increase.
Student Activities Board (SAB): This fee was enacted to provide funding for speakers, entertainers and social activities for the student body. Currently, the SAB fee is $1.06 per credit hour. This fee will increase by $0.53 per credit hour, bringing the fee to $1.59 per credit hour and completes the increase requested in March 2013 to be phased in over two years. The fee increase will provide approximately $146,810 annually.
Justification: This action was student initiated and, if approved, the additional revenue will be used to expand offerings and provide a better quality of student experiences. The proposed fee will be effective in FY15 (beginning on July 1, 2014).
Global Education Project (GEP): Since 2011, the University of Central Arkansas has entered into agreements with foreign universities to establish the Global Education Project (GEP). The general purpose of the agreements is to establish a specific educational program between participating institutions, which will promote academic linkages and enrich understanding of the cultures of the countries involved. In order to enter into these agreements in an appropriate timeframe, the university must establish a flat rate that encompasses several estimated costs. GEP Rate: The GEP rate for fall 2013 and spring 2014 is $7,250 per semester. This rate includes 12 undergraduate hours, housing, meals, insurance, and other necessary costs. The GEP rate for each five-week summer session in 2013 was $3,000. This rate included six undergraduate hours, housing, meals, insurance and other necessary costs.
Justification: Based upon a review of the proposed program costs for the next academic year, the administration proposes that the GEP rate be increased by $250 for fall 2014 and spring 2015, making the per semester rate $7,500. The corresponding GEP rate for a five-week summer session will be $3,050 for summer 2014 and $3,175 for summer 2015. With the proposed GEP rate increases, a GEP undergraduate student taking 12 hours will pay an additional $250 per fall and spring semester. An undergraduate student taking six hours of a five-week summer session will pay an additional $50 in 2014 and an additional $125 in 2015.
Conclusion: The proposed tuition and fee increases equal an overall increase of 3.86% for undergraduates and 3.71% for graduate students, including action taken in February 2014, increasing the Facility Fee by $3.50 per credit hour. With the proposed general tuition increase and SAB fee increase, and the Facility Fee increase already acted on, an undergraduate student taking 15 hours each fall and spring will pay an additional $293.40 annually, and a graduate student taking 12 hours each fall and spring will pay an additional $266.64 annually. The proposed GEP rate increase equals an overall increase of 3.4% for the fall and spring semesters, an increase of 1.7% for summer 2014, and an increase of 4.1% for summer 2015.
Request for Authorization to Issue Bonds to Finance the Design and Construction of the Lewis Science Center Addition: On February 21, 2014, the Board of Trustees approved a request for the university to proceed with the design and construction of the Lewis Science Center addition. The Board of Trustees further approved a request to pursue the economic feasibility of the bond financing as required by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board (AHECB). The bonds are to be in an amount not to exceed $13,500,000 and an interest rate not to exceed 5.75%. The economic feasibility study was approved at the April 25, 2014 meeting of AHECB. The administration now requests that the Board of Trustees authorize the issuance of Capital Improvement Bonds in an amount not to exceed $13,500,000 at a rate not to exceed 5.75%. The debt will be serviced with a facility fee increase of $3.50 per credit hour, which was also approved at the February 21, 2014 meeting of the Board. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued for a general contractor for Lewis Science Center expansion and renovation. The RFQ submittal deadline was April 10, 2014, and 11 firms responded. A committee was selected to evaluate the submissions and select a general contractor for the construction of the project. This is an alternative delivery method (ADM) project. The general contractor, if approved by the board, will work with the architectural firm on the project design and development of construction documents for the expansion and the roof replacement of the existing building. The project will be bid or negotiated by the general contractor, who will provide the university with a guaranteed maximum price (GMP). The committee recommended CDI Contractors. The negotiated rate for the expansion and roof replacement is 4.5% with an additional $112,800 for the preconstruction fee. This contract will be reviewed by Legislative Council in June.
Operating Budget 2014-15 (including new positions)
Based upon the priorities established by the Strategic Budget Advisory Committee (SBAC) and working with the university's Strategic Plan, the following items have been fully or partially funded:
- cost-of-living adjustment of 2% for all positions with faculty rank (SBAC priority 1-partial);
- cost-of-living adjustment of 2% for all non-faculty personnel (SBAC priority 1-partial);
- a "pool" of funds in the amount of $250,000 for faculty equity increases (SBAC priority 1 partial)
- increases for faculty promotion and advancement of $171,200 (SBAC priority 4);
- new administrative support position in the DNP program (SBAC priority 6);
- one additional faculty position, entrepreneurship assistant professor, and ten college-based academic advisors (SBAC priority 6);
- funding related to needs associated with the Disability Support Services are provided based on the student needs each year (SBAC priority 8); and
- one major gifts officer in Institutional Advancement (SBAC 9).
All of the approved proposals can be found here: http://uca.edu/board/files/2014/05/053014agenda.pdf