By Olivia Krauth–
It’s official: Tuition will be rising three percent for U of L students for the 2015-2016 academic year, U of L’s Board of Trustees decided today.
The increase pushes a full-time, in-state student’s tuition from $5,118 to $5,271 per semester.
Out of the 14 voting board members, outgoing SGA president Monali Haldankar was the only to vote against the new budget.
“There’s no way in good conscience I could approve this,” Haldankar said in discussion.
“We’re not unmindful of the burden we are placing on our students,” Trustee Marie Abrams said in response, empathizing with Haldankar but supporting the increase.
Financial aid will also increase by three percent to match the tuition increase. Faculty will also receive a three percent pay increase. One trustee noted this pay increase is “not on the backs of students,” and will come from the operating budget.
The tuition increase comes as part of the 2015-2016 budget that was approved. Additional increases affecting students include three percent increases to U of L-owned housing and price increases to all meal plans. Some courses, including atmsopheric science and fitness, will also gain fees.
The Council on Postsecondary Education allows a total of an eight percent tuition increase every two years, with five percent being the maximum increase for a single year. The board voted to increase tuition by five percent for the 2014-2015 academic year.
U of L placed its own cap on future increases to meal plan prices, limiting future increases to three percent a year. The commuter meal plan will not be increased for 2017 and 2018.
The budget, initially approved by the board’s finance committee on May 14, is the first in 10 years to not have to account for a state funding cut.
The new budget also adds focus on plans for 2016-2022. The budget presented to trustees listed requested capital plans. Highlights of the possible plans include:
-A renovation of the Natural Sciences building.
-An expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
-Expansion and renovation of the College of Education.
-A new instructional building and multiple renovations on the Health Sciences Campus.
-A new parking garage for the Belknap campus.
-A Center for Creative Studies and a Center for the Performing Arts will be built.
-A Center for Social Change will be built.
-Two unnamed residence halls will be renovated, and a new one will be constructed.
After a day of touring the Health Sciences Campus, the board also approved the creation of a doctorate program for nursing practice.