Two universities have weighed in on Governor Hutchinson’s call to freeze all in-state tuition at four-year institutions next year.
Dr. Chuck Welch, president of Arkansas State University, said in a statement that “We respect, understand and share the governor’s concerns about keeping in-state tuition affordable” and the university’s leadership “will certainly enter budget planning this spring with every intention of answering this challenge from Governor Hutchinson.”
Welch noted that the ASU system has “been engaged in a comprehensive, systemwide efficiency study to help us identify ways to increase revenue, reduce expenses and reallocate resources.” Those would include “continued creative thinking and changes in how we operate to meet the short-term and long-term needs of our students”; “new revenue streams through public-private partnerships”; and “innovation activities.”
Welch also enumerated funding challenges: “capital improvements, deferred maintenance, health insurance costs, and faculty and staff salaries.” (His full statement is below.
“We respect and understand the governor’s recommendation and the legislative budget process. Both tuition and state funds are key components of our budget, and we are consistently evaluating all funding resources available to our institution. We are always mindful of the financial barriers that our students face. We will do what is necessary to ensure that our students continue to get the quality education that UCA offers.”
“Since I became chancellor of the state’s flagship land-grant institution in 2016, I’ve been actively working to eliminate barriers of affordability and access to Arkansans’ ability to obtain a college degree. That’s why I’ve consistently recommended only modest tuition increases for the past two years for in-state students, aiming as Gov. Hutchinson suggests to not exceed the Consumer Price Index of around 3 percent. We welcome and accept the governor’s challenge of holding tuition for in-state students flat for the 2018-19 academic year and will continue to seek ways to improve our efficiency and contain costs. Student success, access and affordability remain among our chief priorities.”
Dr. Welch’s full statement is on the jump.
Statement from Dr. Chuck Welch, President of the Arkansas State University System:
“We respect, understand and share the governor’s concerns about keeping in-state tuition affordable. One of the top ASU System strategic planning goals is to use the CPI as the guide for tuition requests from our campuses. Our Board of Trustees and campus administrators believe strongly in producing a high-quality, affordable education, and we will certainly enter budget planning this spring with every intention of answering this challenge from Governor Hutchinson.
“The ASU System has also been engaged in a comprehensive, systemwide efficiency study to help us identify ways to increase revenue, reduce expenses and reallocate resources. The primary purpose for this study is to reduce reliance on student tuition. Additionally, we continue to pursue new revenue streams through public-private partnerships and innovation activities.
“In the absence of dedicated state funding for capital improvements, deferred maintenance, health insurance costs, and faculty and staff salaries, it’s going to take continued creative thinking and changes in how we operate to meet the short-term and long-term needs of our students. This is precisely why the ASU System has been proactive in the past few years in containing costs, seeking new revenue streams and promoting maximum efficiency in our operations.”