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Regents reject tuition hike for UT Austin

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TWC News: Regents reject tuition hike for UT Austin
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University of Texas System regents froze tuition rates for most students at the flagship Austin campus for the next two years, voting instead to provide a short-term boost of cash from its multi-billion dollar endowment fund from West Texas oilfields.

The University of Texas asked for tuition increases ranging from about 2.6 percent to 3.6 percent starting in the fall of 2012. But regents voted instead Thursday to hold down costs for undergraduate resident students by dipping into the Available University Fund, awarding the school $6.6 million each year for the next two years.

The regents said there is no guarantee the endowment money will be available in the future and ordered the school to keep looking for ways to cut costs.

In-state undergraduate students currently pay $4,900 per 15 semester hours. If U.T. President Bill Powers’ proposed tuition bump passed, undergrads would have to pay about another $200.

"I am disappointed that our very thoughtful proposal, every penny of which would have gone to students’ success which itself will keep the cost of higher education down, was not adopted," U.T. President Bill Powers said.

Graduate and out-of-state students were not as lucky. Students in professional and graduate programs at the school will see a tuition hike of 3.6 percent.

Ph.D. student Chelsey West said she opposes tuition increases for anyone seeking higher education.

"I think graduate schools should be affordable, I think it is should be the responsibility of the state," West said.

But with $969 million dollars cut from higher education by the last legislative session, universities like U.T., looked to students to close budget gaps.

Regents approved higher tuition rates at the other eight system campuses, but said those schools should look for ways to mitigate the higher costs.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

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