Tuition and fees at Texas Tech University could be going up again. The Board of Regents is expected to approve a $6 per credit hour increase Thursday, which is lower than prior years. The increase will generate about $4.6 million for the university. That money will go toward unfunded scholarship increases and maintaining competitive pay for faculty.
They are also voting on the "flat-rate" plan that rewards students who graduate on time. The university hopes the "flat-rate" plan will get students out of college in four years. There are incentives for those who take 30 or more credit hours within one year. So what it breaks down to is this: The more credit hours a student completes in a semester - the greater the savings.
"The major reason is that we think it's a real incentive, hence the name, it will get students to graduate on time," Tom Anderes, senior vice president for administration and finance at Tech, said.
Anderes adds the goal of the incentive-based tuition is to get students in and out of college in four years. This is done by completing 15 credit hours per semester or 30 credit hours within a one year period.
"The incentive for a student is, that if you save money from 16, 17, 18 and up in terms of credits you can take in a semester and you can do that over eight semester you can save $2,000-$3,000 under the method we are proposing,"
"If you're taking fewer semester credit hours than would allow you to graduate on time, in other words if you're taking 12, 13 or 14 hours there's going to be a penalty, you're going to have to pay more," Anderes said.
Taking into account the proposed $6 per hour increase students who take 13-18 hours will be charged a flat-rate tuition of $2,025 - that's the cost of 15 credit hours. That means a person who takes 18 hours would save more than $43 a credit hour over someone who takes 13 hours.
But the university doesn't want to penalize those who can't take 15 hours each semester, so they are giving rebates to those who go to summer school to complete the 30 yearly hours.
"Let's assume you've taken 27 semester credit hours in the Fall and the spring - you need three hours to get to 30. If you get 3 hours during the Summer we'll rebate you $50 a semester credit hour so that we offset some of the cost you had to pay in the Fall and the Spring," Anderes said.
He says there are additional costs to some students and benefits to others, but it's a matter of students being able to make choices that will save them and the university money.
"They get through school faster, we have a greater capacity in the university to serve more students," Anderes said.
The flat-rate plan isn't something new to universities. Both the University of Texas and Texas A&M have similar plans.
An energy fee has also been recommended to help with Tech's utility budget. Students taking more than 12 hours will pay $60 a semester in energy fees, $40 for students with seven-11 hours and $20 for those with fewer than seven hours.