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Woodley: Affordability, Funding Adequacy Drive Tuition Plan

B. Lenox

University of Louisiana System President Dr. Sandra Woodley and board members crunched a multitude of numbers in developing a tuition increase plan for the system's nine universities.

"We looked at several key factors when deciding who could go up and by how much," said Woodley.  The tuition hike was authorized by the GRAD Act, a measure passed in 2010 that allows more autonomy in colleges and universities when reaching performance goals and boosting graduation rates.  

"Our primary concern was affordability.  What is the cap room? What kind of bite does tuition and fees take out of a median family income?" queries Woodley, when describing considerations about the plan.

Among the highest increases across the system were University of Louisiana at Lafayette with an increase of 20.2 percent, and McNeese State University at 14.3.  

What kind of bite does tuition and fees take out of a median family income?

  Funding adequacy was another priority in formulating the fee structure.  "We know we have huge gaps in funding per full-time equivalent relative to similar peers," says Woodley.  "We balanced those policy objectives."

She cites Nicholls State University as example of where the market has tapped out on affordability and price sensitivity.  Nicholls received the smallest bump at 1.6 percent.

The University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Tech University each received a 10 percent increase for tuition.  Grambling State University's rate will go up 8.2 percent.   

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