- 1 of 2
Legislature scrambles to avert increase
UNIVERSITY of Guam students are now in a quandary as a tuition fee increase looms due to ongoing cuts in the GovGuam budget.
To avert the impending tuition fee hike, steps were taken at the Legislature yesterday through the introduction of Bill 523-31 and Bill 524-3 by Speaker Judi Won Pat.
Just recently, Won Pat met with UOG student leaders and UOG President Robert Underwood, who brought up his concerns and asked if there was a way to avoid a tuition increase.
Bill 523-31 (COR) seeks to appropriate $1.47 million of the $1.7 million debt service on the 2002 Bank of Guam Short Term Loan which is set to mature in Fiscal Year 2013.
Bill 524-31, on the other hand, would refinance and restructure government of Guam bonds Series 11993 and Series 2012 to realize cost savings of $1.8 million annually which would be appropriated in equal amounts to the university, the Mayors' Council of Guam for capital improvement projects for all villages, and the Tax Refund Reserve.
“With the $1.47 million support for student tuition provided in Bill 516-31 (COR) that Gov. (Eddie) Calvo recently vetoed, his action makes higher education inaccessible and not affordable for 3,702 students at UOG,” Won Pat said.
“During these tough economic times, we must look for strategies to leverage what we have and find creative ways of making them work for us. Sen. Tina Muña-Barnes supports the bills and I hope my other colleagues will also show their support as we move forward with these two bills,” the Speaker added.
According to the university’s “Proposal for Tuition Rate Changes and Economic Impact Statement,” UOG requested a $28.8 million appropriation for their FY2013 general operations “in order to maintain academic quality and student learning, support enrollment growth of 13 percent over the last five years, and meet mandated cost increases for retirement and utilities.”
With the appropriation of $26.7 million by Public Law 31-233 and the mandated cost increases, UOG is faced with a $3.4 million shortfall in its FY2013 general operations budget.
In addition, with the 15 percent allotment reserve required by Adelup, “another $4 million will be held back from the university’s appropriations,” the document states.
To bridge the gap, UOG is proposing the implementation of tuition rate changes that will see increases in resident tuition fee rates by 10 percent in Spring Semester 2013 and another 5 percent in both Academic Years 2013-14 and 2014-15. For non-residents, a decrease in rates will be implemented for Spring 2013 and then an increase of 5 percent in each of the next two academic years.
Also being proposed are several belt-tightening measures including the implementation of “energy and utility conservation measures; deferral of hiring, elimination of positions; increased revenue generation; and academic program consolidations/phase-outs over time, larger class sizes and fewer class offerings.”
To gather comments on the proposed tuition rate changes, UOG will be convening a public hearing at the CLASS Lecture Hall Thursday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m.
Scheduling the hearing in October, according to UOG, will “provide sufficient time to meet deadlines for the publication of Spring Semester 2013 schedules, allow students to plan ahead for their Spring semester tuition and fees, and provide the university time to reapportion its operating budgets.”