Proposed fee changes presented at hearing

As student enrollment rates rise at Texas A&M International University, so does the cost of attendance.

At one of several early October student tuition-and-fee hearings, Juan J. Castillo, vice president for finance and administration at TAMIU, presented a proposed 3.7-percent tuition and fees increase equal to the Higher Education Price Index adjustment and an increase in the health fee by $4.60 per semester.

If approved by the Board of Regents, the increase would affect the following in the 2018-2019 academic school year: current Texas-resident undergraduate students who did not opt-in to a Fixed-Rate Tuition and Fee Plan, students whose FRTFP has expired, graduate students and non-resident students.

The current health fee is $46.05 per semester. With the 3.7-percent increase, the new health fee would be $50.65 per semester and would be split between the health clinic and student counseling.

When asked how the money would be used, Castillo replied, “Demand for the health clinic and student counseling services has increased as enrollment increases.”

Castillo informed hearing participants that currently the health clinic closes during lunch hours due to a slight shortage of available nurses. He said he hopes the proposed increase will add a part-time staff member so the health clinic may remain open to better serve TAMIU students.

Current resident Texan TAMIU undergraduates who are also on FRTFP will only see an increase if they fail to graduate within 12 consecutive semesters, from the time they enroll in an institution of higher education.

Undergraduates who are new to Texas and whose first semester of enrollment at an institution of higher education, after high school, is in the 2018-2019 academic year may opt-in to the FRTFP. Otherwise, they will pay the variable rate.

The breakdown for variable-rate tuition and fee increases is as follows: Texas resident undergraduates enrolled in 15 semester hours will be $158.55 per semester and Texas resident undergraduates enrolled in 12 semester credit hours will rise $132.46 per semester.

The breakdown for fixed-rate tuition and fee increases is as follows: Texas resident undergraduates enrolled in 15 semester hours will be $235.05 and Texas resident undergraduates enrolled in 12 semester credit hours will rise $196.07 per semester.

Interested persons may find more information on FRTFP at www.tamiu.edu/fixedtuition.

In the same proposal, TAMIU is seeking authority to charge an online program service fee. This fee would not exceed $800 and would apply to non-resident students taking an online course outside the state of Texas. This fee would not apply to any student living in state and does not currently affect any students at TAMIU at this time.

Texas A&M University system’s policy states, “with the approval of the Chancellor, the president of each academic institution…is authorized to hold a public hearing at the institution regarding any proposed increase in designated tuition.”

With this in mind, Castillo and his committee members held student tuition-and-fee hearings on three separate dates in an open-public setting to encourage student participation; however, student attendance was low.

Castillo encouraged students who are curious about the increase to contact him or the Bursar’s Office to find out if they are on a fixed- or variable-rate tuition.

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