Tuition, Fees On the Rise at State's Major Universities

Pupils at the state's five largest public, four-year universities can expect one thing for certain next year: higher tuition and fees.

On Friday, the University of Central Arkansas was the last of the five largest universities to approve an increase for the 2014-15 academic year. It was a trend that was seen in previous weeks at Arkansas Tech University, Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

At the University of Arkansas' flagship institution in Fayetteville, undergraduates will see the sharpest incline, paying $13.03 more per credit hour, or $391 for 30 hours. Fayetteville students will also continue to have the highest combined rate for tuition and fees at $8,209 a year.

Closely behind was UALR, where undergraduates will pay $11.93 more per credit hour, or $358 more for those enrolled in 30 credit hours. 

The increases at the Fayetteville and Little Rock campuses, along with increases across the UA System, will help fund faculty salary raises, the university said.

Undergraduate students at Arkansas Tech will also see an increase of more than $300 for the year. Trustees approved a $10 per credit hour increase to the hourly tuition rate, in addition to $1 per credit hour increase to the student health and wellness fee. The increases mean students will pay $330 more for 30 credit hours. 

Even with the increase, Arkansas Tech remained the lowest in terms of tuition and fee rates. In addition, the university's 2014-15 rates were lower than the 2013-14 rates at the remaining major, four-year universities in the state.

At UCA, undergraduates will pay $9.78 more per credit hour, which comes to $293 for 30 hours. In all, students will pay $7,888.80 compared to $7,595.40 in the current year.

Students at Arkansas State will see the smallest increase, paying $7 more per credit hour in the 2014-15 year. Students enrolled in 30 hours will pay $210 more in the next academic year, bringing their total for tuition and fees to $7,720, up from $7,510 in the current year.

All five universities also announced raises for faculty. Arkansas State, UCA and the UA System have said the increases in tuition and fees would help fund 2 percent raises for staff.

"Our faculty have received only small salary increases during the recent economic recovery and we believe we must address this discrepancy so that we can recruit and retain high quality faculty members in order to provide the best possible instruction and mentorship to our students," Donald Bobbitt, UA System president, said in a news release.

The increases have also been seen at the smaller four-year universities in Arkansas. 

Southern Arkansas University approved a 3.65 percent increase to tuition and fees, meaning an additional $6 per credit hour for in-state tuition. The increase may be used to fund raises for faculty and staff.

At Henderson State University, trustees approved a 3.82 percent increase to rates. Next year, undergraduates enrolled in 30 hours will pay $7,562 compared to $7,284 this year.

Below are graphs of tuition and fee rates for undergraduates enrolled in 30 credit hours at the five largest universities next year, and dollar increases for each institution.