Texas A&M System Regents To Consider Raising Tuition at Thursday Meeting

By  | 

COLLEGE STATION, Texas Tuition at Texas A&M could be going up once again as system regents are expected to take a crucial vote Thursday.

News 3 has a look at the upcoming meeting in Galveston and how some College Station campus students are saying no to the hike.

The cost of a college education is becoming more expensive across the country and here at home every few years.

Thursday morning the Texas A&M System Board of Regents will consider not only raising tuition but also having fixed rates by degree plan so that parents and students can better plan that college career.

But some students like Kelsey Magliolo of the Texas Aggie Conservatives are saying it's high enough already. She says their organization had more than 1,100 students send comments to the regents about raising rates.

"Well not only is the purpose of the tuition increase unfair and unjust but the university has not substantially informed students about the proposal," said Magliolo, who is the Texas Aggie Conservatives Executive Director.

For fall semester 2012 Texas A&M ranked in the middle of costs for tuition and fees compared to some other state universities at $4,542.

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.

President Barack Obama has said more should be done to make college affordable, including a reference to that during Tuesday night's State of the Union Address.

"Of course it's not enough to train today's workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow's workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education," Obama said.

Under the new proposed lock-in rate of tuition and fees, a Liberal Arts freshman in fall of 2015 would pay nearly $250 more a semester than current freshmen.

"Many of the students that voice their opinion they were talking about how they would have to get a second or third job if this increase went through. And some even voiced that might have to drop out of A&M altogether," said Kelsey Magliolo.

According to CollegeData.com the average debt for a 2012 graduate at Texas A&M was already $22,955.

Neither System Chancellor John Sharp nor Interim University President Mark Hussey were available for comment Wednesday night but the system released a statement saying:

"We are one of the most affordable state schools today and this program will ensure that continues in the future. Our Board and Chancellor remain focused on transparency and affordability."

The open session of the Board of Regents is scheduled to begin at 10 A.M. Wednesday at the Texas A&M University at Galveston Campus.

Statement from Texas Aggie Conservatives

Texas A&M Students to Regents: Postpone Tuition Reform Vote
College Station, TX -- The Texas Aggie Conservatives released a statement Tuesday questioning the rationale and condemning the timing, location, and circumstances of the scheduled vote by Texas A&M Board of Regents to increase tuition at Texas A&M University. The Aggie Conservatives is calling for the vote to be postponed until May and to be held in College Station.

The Board of Regents meeting will be held in Galveston on Thursday, at which the Board will consider the approval of tuition increases for Texas A&M students and tuition reform policies that will impact all Texas A&M System universities.

The following is the official statement released by the Texas Aggie Conservatives:

For the sake of the interests of all Texas A&M students, the Texas Aggie Conservatives calls upon the Board of Regents to postpone their scheduled vote of Texas A&M tuition reforms until May and to hold the vote in College Station.

Karan Watson, A&M provost, announced the very questionable purpose of the tuition increase: to take money from most students to pay for other students' tuition. "The increase will be used for financial aid," said Watson. "We will have more financial aid, but obviously the students will be paying a bit more." Such a rationale for a tuition increase has not been communicated to students very well and deserves to be better digested and debated among the student body.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote on the proposed tuition increase at its next meeting, yet the meeting is scheduled to be held out of town in Galveston, a very inconvenient place for College Station students. Since at least least 2006, all major tuition votes have occurred in College Station and in the months of March or May.

Moreover, the university and university system have done an unacceptably poor job collecting student feedback on the proposal. Texas A&M attempted to collect feedback only during finals and winter break. However, it was later revealed that the final tuition proposal was dated December 9th, before the supposed feedback period.

The university gave only two days notice for the legally required public on-campus hearing on the issue, a hearing that took place on a study day before finals. No details about the proposed tuition increase were released before the hearing, making it impossible for students to study the proposal and bring informed questions to the hearing. At the hearing, Provost Watson admitted it was "too short of notice."

Provost Watson described the tuition proposals as "major changes," yet the administration did not distribute any details of the plan to students via email or other form of mass communication. According to university records, only 5 students submitted feedback via email, which further highlights the lackluster effort by the administration to inform students and solicit feedback from university stakeholders.

Comprehensive details of the tuition proposal were not released until the Board of Regents posted their agenda last Friday as required by state law. The university did not respond last week to requests made by the Aggie Conservatives for the public release of the tuition proposal.

Furthermore, tuition proposals are typically considered by the Board of Regents in May, not January. There is currently no permanent university president in place, and there is no urgent need to address tuition rates.

The Aggie Conservatives respectfully requests the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents take no action on tuition related issues at the Board meeting this week.

The Texas Aggie Conservatives has a membership of over 100 undergraduate and graduate students dedicated to advancing the philosophies of economic freedom, personal responsibility, prudent foreign policy, and government accountability.