Tuition at the University of Alaska Southeast will increase seven percent in 2012, the University of Alaska Board of Regents decided Friday. That will follow an already planned increase for the year beginning in the fall of 2011.
The increase is less than had been proposed by former UA President Mark Hamilton before he left office, but after the hefty increase was the subject of students protest at the regents' September meeting in Juneau, new President Pat Gamble withdrew the request.
Tuition increases are typically set two years in advance to allow students to plan, said spokesperson Kate Ripley. Because of the controversy this year's decision was later than expected, but still gives students maximum planning time, she said.
Ripley said students at the regents' meeting in Fairbanks praised Gamble for including them in the tuition setting process, which involved students, administrators and other stakeholders in an advisory task force.
The proposal Gamble put forth Friday was a consensus of the task force, she said.
"The rate is the minimum the multi-campus system predicts it will need to help balance its budget for FY2013," she said.
Undergraduate tuition will go up 7 percent, while the already-higher graduate tuition will go up 3 percent.
Student Regent Ashton Compton of Fairbanks proposed an amendment to forgo the graduate tuition increase but it didn't garner enough votes to pass, Ripley said.
UA tuition revenue covers about half the actual instructional costs; the rest is subsidized by state general funds, Ripley said.
"All of us on the board are really pleased with the way the different groups came together and hammered this out," said Regent Tim Brady of Anchorage.
UAS student leaders did not return phone calls Friday.
Ripley said the rising health care costs for the university system's 4,500 employees eligible for benefits is presenting a challenge, but the university, along with its employees, is analyzing numerous proposals to slow the rate of increases in the future.
Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.