Universities within the UL system will see their lowest fee increase in a decade, as their Board of Supervisors approved a hike of less than three percent for the nine public colleges. Fee increases range from $98 to $212.
UL System president Dr. Jim Henderson says Louisiana still ranks dead last in total resources per student among southern states.
“Our universities operate on about $12,000 per student per year,” Henderson said, “In Alabama and Mississippi it’s a little over $17,000 and Arkansas it’s over $15,000 per student.”
Henderson says because the TOPS award has been decoupled from tuition and fee increases, the taxpayer funded scholarship will not cover the cost of this increase for students. The increase will cost students an average of $108 out of pocket. But he says that’s still less than they paid last year because TOPS is now fully funded.
“When you look at last year when TOPS was funded at 70 percent instead of the full funding for TOPS, most students had to come out of pocket with $1,500 to $2,000,” Henderson said.
Henderson says while any increase in out of pocket costs is significant for students, the hike is necessary to provide classroom resources and compete to retain and recruit faculty. He says compared to other states in the region, Louisiana ranks 7th for tuition and fees per student, but 15th in state support. He hopes with more state support, he can one day announce no fee increases on students.
“We’ve got to find a new balance. We’ve got to figure out how to increase the state investment so that the out of pocket expense for students does not continue to increase,” Henderson said.
Grambling State University and the University of New Orleans are the only two institutions not to increase fees this year.