Texas regents expected to keep tuition flat

AUSTIN (AP) — The University of Texas System’s Board of Regents will vote this week on a plan to avoid tuition increases for in-state students.

Regents will meet Thursday and are expected to approve a plan that would keep tuition flat at the Austin flagship campus and eight others. The campuses had negotiated in-state tuition increases with system officials that would have brought in an additional $18 million in revenue, but regents voted against them after Gov. Rick Perry called for a tuition freeze.

The increase would have been 2.1 percent, or $104 a semester, at UT-Austin.

The new plan will use money from the permanent university endowment to offset costs. The state Constitution only allows money from the fund to be used for operations at the Austin campus and UT System administration, so 48 audit employees at the campuses will become UT System employees instead. They will remain on their campuses but report to the central audit office.

The plan will free up about $31 million. UT-Austin will get $28 million because it is entitled to the biggest share of endowment proceeds under state law.

“It is extremely welcomed and appreciated,” UT-Austin President Bill Powers said.

A spokesman said UT-Austin will use the money to help with student success initiatives and support graduate students and faculty in various departments.

Powers has encouraged system officials to use more money from the endowment because of increasing oil and natural gas revenues from West Texas lands.

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