Utah college sutdents believe they scored at least a "moral victory" Friday in holding down next year's tuition increase to 9 percent at the state four-year colleges and universities and 7 percent at two-year institutions.
"It wasn't what we really wanted, but it was moral victory," said Southern Utah State College Student President Darin Bird after the state Board of Regents approved a tuition boost for the second consecutive year.
Besides the tuition increase, the Regents, in their annual budget hearings, agreed with the recommendation of Higher Education Commissioner Wm. Rolfe Kerr to request an 8.3 percent increase in state money, or a $21.6 million increase, for a total in state appropriations of $281.7 million in the 1989-90 budget.
Kerr had asked the regents to go along with a 9 percent increase at the four-year institutions and 8 percent at the two-year schools. He reported that would generate $5.9 million in revenue. The total proposed budget is $337.2 million.
But the students didn't like his recommendation, even though it had been scaled down from an increase of 12 percent at the universities, 10 percent at the four-year colleges and 8 percent at the 2-year schools. That proposal was modified before it even reached the regents.
Bird asked the regents to drop the proposed increase to 8 percent at the universities, 7 percent at the four-year colleges and 6 percent at the two-year schools.
It appeared that the regents would back the commissioner's request, after the budget and Finance Committee, on a split vote, agreed with Kerr.
After that vote, some student leaders said they felt betrayed, having registered 22,00 students to vote against the tax initiatives. Some said they'd have a hard time selling the tuition increases on their campuses.
But their mood improved when the proposal was returned to the entire board. Regent Steven Snow questioned how tuition increases would limit the number of students going to Utah colleges.
Referring to the students' voter-registration drive, Snow added, "I feel badly about rewarding them for their good efforts with a tuition increase." Former University of Utah Student President Jacqueline Morgan, who now serves with the regents, said the students see the small drop in a tuition increase as a symbolic gesture, showing that the regents are sympathetic.
The regents bounced around several combinations before settling on the 9 percent and 7 percent increases.
C. Gail Norris, associate commissioner of budget and finance, reported that dropping the two-year schools to 7 percent would cut the $5.9 mission by $100,000.
They also decided, based upon a suggestion by Kerr, to set up a task force, which will include students, to work out a policy for raising tuition.
Bird said the prospects of a tuition policy will make it easier to convince students to support a tuition increase now.
Under the budget, the regents agreed to seek a 4.5 percent inflation adjustment for faculty and staff salaries.
As required by the Legislature, the top recommended funding priority is mandated costs -- unavoidable increases for utilities, insurance premiums and operation and maintenance of new buildings.
Other recommended priorities are research and development, enrollment growth of 3,000 students and investment in nursing, engineering, medical science and biotechnology and vocational education programs.
Amoung the requests for capital facilities funding is planning money for library construction.
The regents received a copy of the 1988 legislative-mandated study on libraries Friday. It said the condition of the state's higher education libraries range from ciritical to most critical and will cost $73 million to upgrade.
Tuition increases for Utah colleges and universities
TUITION* TUITION INCREASEUniversity
of Utah 1,327.50 1,450.00 122.50 Utah State
University 1,095.00 1,190.00 95.00
College 918.00 1,000.00 82.00
State College 870.00 950.00 80.00
Snow College 690.00 740.00 50.00
Dixie College 820.29 880.00 59.71
Eastern Utah 702.00 750.00 48.00
Comm. Coll. 861.00 920.00 59.00
Comm. Coll. 909.00 970.00 61.00
*Full-time equivalent student carrying 15 hours