Sunday, March 16, 2003

UK to consider tuition hike

Todd proposing 15 percent increase for undergrads

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - University of Kentucky president Lee Todd plans to ask the board of trustees to consider a 15 percent tuition increase next year for in-state undergraduates.

Todd's proposal comes in the wake of an $8 million budget cut for the current semester.

The university's trustees on Tuesday will consider raising tuition and registration fees to $2,001 per semester from $1,740 for resident undergraduates.

Tuition for out-of-state students would go to $5,341 per semester from $5,016.

Graduate and professional students and part-timers also face increases under the plan, which will be discussed when many students are away from campus for spring break.

Steve Reed, UK trustees chairman, said he wants to make sure the increase is necessary.

"I'm very sensitive to the fact that we live in a state that is not the wealthiest in the nation," Reed said.

"We must not become an elitist school that only wealthy people can afford. Now, you have to balance that with economic reality."

Maria Maldonado, 21, a junior from Lexington, said she doesn't object to the tuition increase as long as the university improves.

Her only concern is that students not have to pay more for the same services they currently receive.

"I understand why people would be upset, but the university is trying to be a top 20 university - and I see things that need change," she said.

"I see buildings and classrooms that need to be improved. People want to see tangible results."

The tuition increase would bring an additional $14.5 million to the university next year, said UK spokeswoman Mary Margaret Colliver.

The recent state budget cut of more than $8 million to UK this spring prompted the proposal, she said.

She added that the university is looking at ways to cut costs and already has limited travel expenses and hiring.

Todd and other UK officials would not comment on the proposal, Colliver said, until the issue is presented to the trustees.

Todd also is proposing an increase in room and board costs next year for students who live in dormitories.

Most students who live on campus would pay $4,285 next year under the proposal, an increase of $235.

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