Despite tuition hike, BYU is third least expensive university

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    By Karen Lee

    Although BYU charges more for tuition than any other Utah public colleges or universities, the annual College Board”s recent survey ranked BYU as No. 3 on the list of least expensive private four-year schools.

    The average cost of tuition at a U.S. private four-year school is $8,166 per semester, according to the College Board survey. This makes BYU $6,696 cheaper per semester than the average private school.

    Although BYU is privately funded and the University of Utah is not, some interesting similarities exist among the tuition increase rates at both schools.

    Between 1990 and 1997 the U of U, which ran on academic quarters rather than on a semester system, increased tuition costs 4.7 percent each year.

    During those years, BYU, which ran on academic semesters, averaged a 4.8 percent increase each year.

    During Fall Semester 1998, the U of U converted to the semester format. Since then tuition rates have increased on average 3.5 percent each year.

    In that time frame, BYU”s tuition rates have increased on an average of 4 percent each year.

    While tuition rates have been climbing at both schools, the U of U has not announced if it will increase tuition for the 2001-2002 school year. If changes occur, they are likely to be announced by summer 2001, according to the university”s Income Accounting Office.

    With a 4.1 percent increase set for Fall Semester 2001 at BYU, some students are wondering when these tuition hikes will end.

    Tuition rates for full-time LDS undergraduates have increased 54.7 percent since 1990 at an average of 4.5 percent each year. That adds up to a $520 tuition cost increase in the years between 1990 and 2000.

    The highest increase in the past 10 years was a 6.4 percent increase between 1998 Winter and Fall semesters. The lowest percentage increase occurred between the Winter and Fall semesters of 1996 at an increase of 3.3 percent.

    Administrative Vice President Brad Farnsworth said the latest increase is necessary to keep pace with the continually rising costs of operating the university.

    “It”s hard to speculate the future,” said Michael Smart, of BYU University Communications, when referring to additional tuition rate increases in the years ahead.

    Melanie Potter, a senior from Owasso, Okla., majoring in home economics education, said, “I wish it were otherwise. It seems that tuition inflates excessively, but if you want to go to college you have got to pay the dues.”

    Karen Jensen, a senior from Byron,Wyo., majoring in business marketing, said she has worried about her paychecks not being able to keep up with tuition hikes.

    Jensen is not alone in the pay check/tuition crunch.

    Many BYU students work at jobs that pay minimum wage or slightly higher. Minimum wage has increased 35.5 percent in the past 10 years. It was raised from $3.80 an hour in 1990 to the current wage of $5.15 an hour. This leaves a 19.2 percent difference between wage increase and BYU”s tuition increase over the past 10 years.

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