Urban-Rural Tution Imbalance Upsets Students in Advance of Proposed Increase

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

The University of Alaska Board of Regents begins two days of meetings in Fairbanks today (Thursday) and on the agenda is a proposal to increase the cost of tuition. The proposal calls for a seven percent increase for undergraduate tuition.

Many local college students are unhappy with the proposed tuition increase. And, as KMXT’s Maggie Wall reports, some are questioning the fairness of the way tuitions are charged at smaller, rural campuses.

((( College Tuition "Here are some…Barbara Bolson. SOC.")))

Think it costs a lot to go to college in Alaska? Well, that depends on where you attend classes and whether you get a 4-year or 2-year degree. Recent number crunching by a Kodiak College student revealed some interesting statistics about costs.

For instance, if you attend one of the three main campuses of the University of Alaska your four year degree will costs 2 percent less than the national average. On the other hand, a two year degree from one of the small college campuses, such as Kodiak College, will cost you 48 percent more than the national average.

Kodiak College student John Beale says that says that the cost of a two year education is out of line compared to upper division students, and he’d like to see it changed:

Beale competitive is half the story

Beale is co-editor of the Kodiak College paper, and in preparation for a story that appears in the current issue, Beale researched and compared Kodiak College rates to tuitions across the country.

Beale costs and percentages

Add to that textbooks at $200 a pop and Beale says Alaska students may start looking at other options.

Beale price out of market

Not surprisingly, one of the reasons given for higher tuitions on rural campuses is the higher cost of running outlying schools. But Beale says holding that line could eventually diminish the larger campuses in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau:

Beale bite the hand that feeds you

Beale also points out that many state universities get a lot of funding from the states in which they are located. Not so much so in Alaska. And, unlike most states, Alaska has a great deal of wealth that could be invested into its universities and its students.

Beale-and College Director Barbara Bolson-both say education is an investment, not an expense:

Beale / Bolson Adjust rates/investment

Bolson says regardless of what decisions are made about tuition rates, there are a number of things that can and are being done to maximize every dollar the college gets:

Bolson mileage out of every dollar

Kodiak College Director Barbara Bolson.

I’m Maggie Wall. ###

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