UACCB set to increase tuition for students

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – The Board of Visitors has recommended that the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) raise tuition for both in-district and out-of-district students.

The board recently voted to increase tuition by 3.67 percent, which equals about $3 more per credit hour. UACCB Chancellor Deborah Frazier says the proposed increase will generate about $90,000.

"Our tuition increase is a 3.6 percent increase," Frazier said. "That's about what we thought substantially our students could bear."

Frazier says the board carefully considered raising the cost of  attendance, but the school had to confront rising operational expenses. She says that included paying for some unfunded mandates by the federal government as well as an unanticipated hike in health insurance.

"One of the greatest unexpected issues we are facing is a tremendous $62,000 increase in health insurance," Frazier explained.

She says, despite other cost-cutting measures, the school had no other option but to raise tuition. UACCB even cut its travel budget by $100,000 and decided to leave several faculty openings unfilled.

The University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees will ultimately decide on the tuition hike when it meets March 30. Members will deliberate on the 3.67 percent increase in tuition and fees, which would bring the cost of attendance in Fall 2012 to $2,540. Students paid $2,450 at the start of Fall 2011.

With the increase pending, Frazier insists that the cost "still makes us the most affordable intuition in the area." She says students have said that they understand paying extra will keep the institution thriving and may even provide more educational opportunities.

"The students say that they understand UACCB is a business also," Frazier noted. "They're pleased with the product that they're receiving, and they understand."

The chancellor added that affordability entered the conversation, as the Board of Visitors considered asking for a tuition increase. The school has fought recently to lower its student loan default rate, but Frazier says raising tuition for in-district students from $60 to $63 per credit hour is not a substantial amount.

"We feel like, even at $63 per credit hour, we're still very much affordable," Frazier said, adding: "students will be able to have a wonderful experience at a very affordable price."

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