Texas A&M Gets a Tuition Hike

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The Texas A&M System Board of Regents approved raising tuition at the College Station campus along with the Health Science Center and Texas A&M- Galveston.

"Growing up I always wanted to be an Aggie,” said Sam McMurry.

Sam McMurry turned his dream into a reality two years ago after being accepted to Texas A&M. But he says, now, he's paying the ultimate price.

"I'm kind of in that weird awkward place where we make too much to get financial aid but we don't make enough to pay for it out right so I'm taking about $120,000 in loans,” McMurry said.

The cost of his education is only going up. Thursday the Texas A&M System Board of Regents unanimously approved raising tuition at its flagship university along with the Health Science Center and Texas A&M Galveston. The vote marks the first tuition increase approved by the board since 2009.

“A&M has held the line on tuition increases, better than any other institution in the state of Texas,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp during a phone interview Thursday.

The overhaul includes two major changes: replace A&M's 7,200 course fees with designated tuition and guarantee a flat four-year tuition rate as mandated by House Bill 29. The hike is different per degree plan; and existing students will see increases on average of about 3.65%. Freshmen entering Texas A&M next fall will see the largest average tuition and fee increase of about six-percent.

More than 1,100 students contacted regents about their opposition for the hike, however with the unanimous vote -- McMurry says their voices weren’t heard.

“No, they definitely weren’t. Today they approved the tuition increase, so they definitely didn’t listen to the 1,100 students,” Magliolo said.

During the phone interview Chancellor Sharp agreed there could have been more communication. .

“There wasn't enough communication between the administration and the students perhaps there should have been,” said Sharp.

The hike has McMurry and his fellow students worried.

“Students will have to get a second or third job or drop out of A&M all together because of these increases,” said Texas A&M Senior Kelsey Magliolo.

“In the next four to five semesters I have, it will be anywhere from $1,800 to $2,200 with the increased tuition,” McMurry said.

Texas A&M tuition was $4,542 in the fall of 2012, a figure which puts it in the middle of the pack for public universities in the state. UT-Austin was higher at $4,895. UT-Dallas was one of the highest at $5,796 and Sam Houston State University at $4,195.

"Our cost of going to school is the second lowest of all the public schools in the state of Texas. The only one lower than us in Texas State University,” said Sharp. “We could probably double the tuition and still get the same amount of students that we have but that's not the way our regents think they are interested in middle class kids being able to afford college just like they did and that's the way they approach it.”

The changes take effect this fall. Chancellor Sharp says the regents approved a tuition cap for next year’s incoming freshman. A&M says it will create a single, fixed-rate for students from their freshman year through year four or five, depending on their degree plan and major.