By Jordan Burke
BYU will raise student tuition rates more than six percent next school year to $1,810 per semester, but the sum still remain low compared other regional programs.
The school?s $105 increase for undergraduate students represents the fourth straight year BYU has raised tuition.
Tuition for general graduate school students will increase to $2,290, up 6.3 percent. But for students attending the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the Marriott School of Management, tuition will increase 10.1 percent to $4,100.
The school will also up the rate for those who aren?t members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Currently non-members pay 150 percent of the normal tuition rate. However, next year they will spend 200 percent of the going rate.
Since fall 1990, tuition rates have increased by 4.2 percent on average each year. That?s roughly 1.24 percentage points over each year?s annual inflation rate.
“Because we had a series of years when our tuition increases were minimal, and in many cases below those of other institutions in the state and throughout the nation, the Board of Trustees felt is was necessary to make an adjustment this year,” said Brian K. Evans, chief financial officer at BYU.
Even with the rate increase, the university?s tuition level still remains low compared to other Utah-based schools. This year, the University of Utah charged $1,814.38 a semester for in-state tuition. Tack on required student fees and the total jumps to $2,149.08. Utah Valley State College charges $1,511 per semester, which includes student fees.
The new funds from the rate hike total more than $3 million. Further comment from the University about what the money will go towards wasn?t available over the weekend.
Compared to other similar regional programs, though, BYU tuition levels still remain near or at the bottom. The University of Colorado charges $2,686 per semester of in-state tuition. Arizona State University comes in a bit less at $2,033 per semester or in-state students. But look at those schools? out-of-state tuition charges and the differences grow. Colorado charges $11,413 per semester; ASU charges $6,460.
Some students and faculty wonder why the University doesn?t increase tuition to match regional averages. The increase, they argue, could be used for financial aid, scholarships or other endeavors.
?I don”t believe it is necessary to subsidize a BYU education to such a degree,? said Eric Dursteler, an assistant professor of history. ?While we do have many students who struggle to afford a BYU education, increasingly the socio-economic demographic at BYU is skewing upward, that is more students and their families are able to pay comfortably BYU”s tuition, and could afford to pay more.?
Upping BYU?s price, he argues, could help a broader cross-section of LDS students attend.
?A number of the top universities in the country now have needs-blind admissions, which essentially guarantees that anyone who is admitted will be able to attend, whatever their personal or family financial situation,? Dursteler said. ?I would like to see BYU institute such a policy, and I believe raising the tuition for those who are able to pay more will open the door a more representative socio-economic cross-section of the church.?