Bryant Flake, executive director of planning and budget, gives a speech about the tuition increase on Feb. 22. Misha Mosiichuk | Sun News Daily
Recent economic inflation impacts Dixie State University which will raise tuition and student life fees.
The truth in tuition hearing held on Feb. 22 included DSU’s leadership teams, and all concerned students and citizens were invited to attend.
Bryant Flake, executive director of planning and budget, started the hearing with a presentation on the reasons and numbers behind the proposed increase in tuition.
In February 2021 the inflation rate was 1.7% whereas the inflation rate in January 2022 is 7.5%. This is the highest it has been in 40 years.
“What is particularly striking is just how sudden the inflation has hit both us as a campus and the economic environment at large,” Flake said.
There are smaller applicant and hiring pools, increased construction, housing costs and supply chain challenges. For example, the new Science, Technology and Engineering building has been using backup equipment up until recently because the original equipment has not arrived.
Due to these challenges, the proposed increase in tuition is ranged from 2% to 5%. The exact increase will be determined from the state budget set by Utah Legislature. The Utah Legislatures’ session will end on March 4 with the final budget.
Since 55% of the $95 million budgeted for core academic operations comes from the state, these numbers are crucial to calculate what will be necessary to come from tuition.
The lowest tuition would increase is 2% which would result in $51 increase per semester for residents and $162 increase for non-residents. The highest it would increase is 5% which would result in $127 increase per semester for residents and $405 increase for non-residents.
Flake compared other university’s tuition to DSU’s and DSU is the lowest cost option. Sonoma State University, located in California, is the closest in similarity to DSU with an annual tuition of $7,952. DSU’s current annual tuition is $5,662.
Utah Valley University and Weber State University have similar tuition to DSU, but DSU offers lower tuition than both.
“We want to keep our tuition increase as moderate as possible,” Flake said.
The use of the money from the increased tuition (pending 5% is approved) is outlined in the presentation by Flake. Full-time base compensation would be the largest factor and accounts for 3.13% of the total 5% increase. Faculty rank advancements, Division I athletics and technical curriculum partnerships account for the rest of the 5% increase.
The 0.53% budgeted to the technical curriculum partnership will be used to implement technical education at DSU. While technical curriculum has always been a part of DSU’s plan it also coincides with name change to Utah Tech University.
University President, Richard “Biff” Williams, said: “With this curriculum… There’s over 7,500 micro-credentials that you can get and it will range anywhere from music to electrical engineering… It will allow you the opportunity to get some of those sub-certificates and micro-credentials to be successful and make you a little bit more marketable when you get out into the field.”
The partnership has yet to be publicly announced with more details.
On March 11 DSU’s Board of Trustees will meet to review the increase and following their decision the Utah Board of Higher Education will review the increase on March 24. If approved the increased tuition will take effect for the Fall 2022 semester.
Student Body President, Penny Mills, a senior communication studies major from Orem, ended the hearing by proposing the increased amount wanted for the student life fee.
The proposed increase is $5 which is a 1.25% increase per semester resulting in $404 total for each student to pay in the 2022-2023 year if approved.
Mills said the most important goal of the student fee advisory board is to make sure everything is being spent in the correct way, and to hold everyone accountable for the fees they are requesting to receive.