Press Release for Thursday, June 20, 2002

UNF Board of Trustees Approves Tuition Increase


JACKSONVILLE – The University of North Florida Board of Trustees has approved tuition increases beginning in the Fall Semester that are significantly below the levels authorized by the Florida Legislature.

The Board, meeting Thursday, authorized in-state graduate tuition rates to be raised an additional 5 percent, out-of-state undergraduate rates raised an additional 4 percent and out-of-state graduate rates increased an additional 2 percent. UNF is one of only two state universities to date that has increased tuition less than the level authorized by the Legislature.

During it’s last session, the Legislature mandated in-state undergraduate and graduate tuition increases of 5 percent and out-of-state undergraduate and graduate tuition of 10 percent. However, the Legislature gave individual university boards of trustees the discretion to raise in-state graduation tuition rates by an additional 5 percent, and out-of-state graduate and undergraduate tuition rates by an additional 10 percent. If these discretionary increases had been fully implemented, some students, such as out-of-state graduate students, could have faced tuition increases of 20 percent next year. About 9.5 percent of UNF students are from out of state.

The rates approved by the Board Thursday were the levels recommended by UNF President Dr. Anne Hopkins who convened a special committee of students, faculty and staff to make recommendations on the level of discretionary tuition increases. Last week, the committee reviewed options including an initial recommendation from Dr. Hopkins and unanimously decided to endorse her proposal to the Board of Trustees.

“I hope that the action taken today will send a message that the students, faculty, staff and individual boards of trustees can work collaboratively to determine what is in the best interests of each university,” Hopkins said. “At some point, we would hope that the individual boards of trustees will be given discretion over in-state undergraduate tuition rates which affect about 10,000 of our 13,000 students.”

With the special committee’s support, university officials identified those students for whom tuition increases would be the most severe burden. In this regard, the university will commit additional funds to help offset the tuition burden by increasing the availability of financial aid for students in those programs, particularly teacher preparation. “UNF is strategically committed to providing service to K-12, and this service includes effective professional training for school personnel, with a focus on teachers working and preparing to work in urban school settings,” Hopkins said.

The board’s action Thursday has no bearing on in-state undergraduate rates which were increased by 5 percent by the Legislature.
Even with the increase of in-state undergraduate tuition, Florida rates continue to be among the lowest in the nation.

In adopting out-of-state tuition increases that were significantly less than those authorized by the Legislature, Hopkins said the University does not want to erect barriers to non-Florida residents attending UNF. “The geographic diversity of our students is as important as ethnic diversity when creating a campus environment that enriches the learning experience of our students,” she said.

The discretionary tuition increases will generate about $316,000 in addition revenue for UNF in the next fiscal year.