Texas A&M Students, Staff React to Proposed Tuition Hike, Merit Pay Increases

Texas A&M is pushing for a hike in tuition partly to pay for faculty raises.

It may be a tough sell in a still recovering economy.

But as News 3 discovered, the university is paying professors less than many of their counterparts.

Casey Simmons is studying business at Texas A&M and under a new proposal would start paying $176 more a semester starting in the fall of 2013.

"Any change is gonna have some sort of response," said Simmons.

She says the cost of going to college is already pretty expensive.

"I don't think it's gonna be too bad but as long as it's not through the roof paying too much then I think it's gonna be ok," she added.

The new revenue would help fund Texas A&M merit pay increases for faculty and staff which haven't happened for three years due to budget cuts.

"This is something that is certainly past due," said Walter Daugherity, Ph.D., a Computer Science Senior Lecturer and also Secretary-Treasurer of the Faculty Senate.

"It's always important to reward employees, faculty and staff who are doing a good job and so it's very much needed," he said.

The average salary for a professor at A&M is $121, 000 while at UT it's $136,500.

Data collected by Texas A&M shows that salaries are about 12 percent less than 15 peer institutions including UT, UCLA, and Michigan among others that average $138,000.

"There are benefits; good environment to raise a family, lower cost of living and so forth that all go into a decision but having a reputation for below average salaries does not make A&M an attractive place and so that's why it's important to address this," said Daugherity.

Student Casey Simmons says the new costs will hit some students harder than others.

"I think it definitely depends on the situation of the student and how much they are willing to pay and how much they can get through scholarship and stuff like that so," said Simmons.

The Board of Regents is expected to make a decision by May.

Tuition did not go up this past year.

For a complete look at President Bowen Loftin's presentation on the tuition hike proposal see the link below.

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