Editorial: UTA fixed-rate tuition is good option for some students

05/31/2014 9:17 AM

05/31/2014 9:18 AM

It was welcome news to current and prospective students that tuition rates in the University of Texas system would not rise this year — a decision urged by Gov. Rick Perry and approved by the Board of Regents earlier this month.

That is no guarantee that costs won’t rise again soon.

But because of a state law, all public universities must offer a fixed-rate tuition option that could protect some students from future increases that add to the already high burden of obtaining a degree.

At UT Arlington, that guaranteed tuition plan could save students over $1,000 in four years if tuition remains static, and as much as $2,700 if tuition rises at an annual rate of 3 percent.

But there’s a catch.

Undergraduates who sign up for the program pay about $700 more their first year than students who forgo the plan, but become eligible for a $1,000 rebate the following fall if they keep a C+ grade-point average and successfully complete 30 credit hours during the academic year.

The benefits compound, too. If a student successfully meets the plan criteria for three consecutive years, the rebate doubles their senior year. Students can “earn” up to $4,000 under the plan, although “total savings” are actually a bit less.

Still, an extra $1,000 in a student’s pocket upon graduation might be incentive enough to enroll in the program, but only if they intend to meet the requirements.

Full-time status is achieved by taking 12 credit hours a semester, and the guaranteed tuition program would mean an extra class in the fall and spring or two in the summer, to meet the required 30-credit total. That can be a tall order for alternative students or those who work a full or part-time job in addition to attending classes. And while maintaining a 2.5 grade-point average sounds reasonable, one bad semester could seriously set a student back.

The college years can be unpredictable. Which is why it never hurts to have options.

The fixed-rate tuition plan is a good choice for strong students who are attending full time and committed to graduating in four years or less.

Join the Discussion

Fort Worth Star-Telegram is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQ | Terms of Service