BOG questions USF need for tuition increase
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2012 02:06
“One of our biggest challenges is the growing number of Pell recipients,” Wilcox said. “As our students have been required to file FAFSA, many of them have come to realize they are eligible for Pell when in years past they had missed that. That’s certainly the reality of the economy. We have tremendous unmet financial needs that we have to address.”
If the differential increase was to be approved, he said, 40 percent of it would be devoted to need-based aid -— 10 percent more than the amount required by state law.
But BOG member Norman Tripp questioned the need to raise tuition differentials if the population was facing financial hardship.
“You’ve really got a popula¬tion that’s struggling, okay?” he said, addressing Genshaft. “And you’re coming in and asking us to increase the tuition that they pay. But then your provost said you’re not doing that because of ‘the reality of the economy.’ I have a tough time approving more costs to that population that you’re serving with ‘the reality of the economy’ you’re facing. I don’t know how you can come in and expect those people to pay more money, okay? It’s not, in the long run, going to help the state of the economy.”
Other BOG members were not satisfied with the response.
“(Graduation rates are) significantly within your control,” BOG member Thomas Kuntz said. “Other institutions are doing better, and they have the same strengths. I take your point that while the state revenue is a factor, to say that ‘our graduation rates are entirely dependent on what money the state gives us’ is a flawed answer.”
Wilcox reassured BOG members that they would see improved numbers over the next few years.
The BOG will make all tuition and fee related decisions today.
Genshaft assured BOG members that USF was on the right trajectory, and that despite “dimin¬ished investment,” the university was increasing its productivity.
“We like to think of ourselves as fiscally conservative and academically innovative,” she said. “I think we’re a very good bet in putting money toward us, and if we don’t reach our goal, then, yeah, have the conversation with us.”