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The University of Houston System Board of Regents adopted a “sliding scale” approach to determining tuition and fee rates for fiscal year 2008 in a special meeting Tuesday.

The possible increases will be pegged to the specific amount of funding received from the Texas Legislature, which will be determined later this year. Based on state funding remaining at the level in the introduced appropriations bill, maximum increases at the four UH System universities would be:

1) University of Houston – Not more than 12.4 percent
2) UH-Clear Lake – Not more than 6.2 percent
3) UH-Downtown – Not more than 10 percent
4) UH-Victoria – Not more than 7.9 percent

These increases will be less if the amount of state funding exceeds the introduced bill.

“We don’t know what sort of state funding will be available to the university from the Legislature,” said UHS Regent Jim Wise. "We do know, however, that there is a lot of support for higher education from the governor and others in Austin, and we will continue to do our due diligence in minimizing the increase in tuition.”

Historically, regents at Texas state universities have set tuition rates before the Legislature completes the appropriation process and have been unable to consider the impact of final funding formula increases to their respective institutions. In response to that, this new “sliding scale” approach directly links the school’s increase in tuition and fees to whatever amount of additional formula-based funding the Legislature appropriates. Basically, the less additional state funding the school receives, the more it will have to increase tuition and fees to sustain current operations and implement specific quality enhancements.

Tuition and fee increases at UH for FY2008, for example, have been calculated based on formula funding increases for all state universities ranging from $0 to $350 million, the range of figures being discussed by the Legislature.

Should $350 million in additional appropriations be approved for the biennium, UH would receive approximately $13 million in additional funding each year, and tuition and fees would then increase only 2.1 percent (based on faculty and staff salaries increasing 3 percent). That would result in a $62 increase for a typical resident undergraduate student taking 12 credit hours per semester.

A 10 percent raise in tuition and fees at UH (based on additional state funding of $2 million) would result in a $291 increase for the student. A 5 percent raise would result in a $147 increase. The maximum 12.4 percent raise in tuition and fees at UH would result in a $365 increase, bringing the FY2008 total tuition and fees to approximately $3,307 per semester.

The maximum raise in tuition and fees at UH-Clear Lake would produce a $128 increase, bringing the total to $2,189 per semester.

The maximum raise at UH-Downtown would produce a $183 increase, raising the semester total to $2,020.

The maximum increase at UH-Victoria would produce a $150 increase, bringing the total to $2,052 per semester.

Even with tuition increases, UH still falls well below average tuition charged by many other urban-area universities, said John Rudley, UH vice president of administration and finance. He cited UH’s cost of $5,648 for two semesters of 12 credit hours for this academic year, compared to $12,138 at the University of Pittsburgh and $9,742 at the University of Illinois at Chicago for equivalent hours.

“Education is still affordable at UH,” Wise said. “The total cost of a student's education on average can be covered up to 60 percent by grants at the federal, state and university levels. This is important information to keep in mind.”

The Board of Regents and the administration are working diligently to strike a balance between implementing a reasonable tution and fee increase and to make strides toward the enhancement of the university’s goal of achieving “Tier 1” status, said UHS Board of Regents Chairman Leroy Hermes.

“Presenting our tuition increase range to members of the Legislature will let them know how we are addressing the challenge of setting tuition prior to having their final state funding determination,” he said.


The University of Houston System is the state’s only metropolitan higher education system, encompassing four universities and two multi-institution teaching centers. The universities are the University of Houston, a nationally recognized doctoral degree-granting, comprehensive research university; the University of Houston-Downtown, a four-year undergraduate university beginning limited expansion into graduate programs; and the University of Houston-Clear Lake and the University of Houston-Victoria, both upper division and master’s-level institutions. The centers are the UH System at Sugar Land in Fort Bend and the UH System at Cinco Ranch. In addition, the UH System includes KUHF-FM, Houston’s National Public Radio and classical radio station, and KUHT-TV, the nation’s first educational television station.