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UWA raises tuition fees by 12 percent

LIVINGSTON &8212; Following the state cutting its education budget by 11 percent one week ago, the University of West Alabama Board of Trustees voted to increase the institutions tuition for both instate and out-of-state students by 12 percent on Monday.

The increase, which marks the highest in several years for the 173-year-old institution, still puts UWA with one of the lowest tuition rates in the state.

Unlike many public universities statewide, UWA did not cut any positions for the 2008-2009 academic year and Holland says they&8217;re truly proud of that fact.

Among the not-so-fortunate schools in the state was the University of Alabama, which cut 300 positions for the coming academic year.

10.8 percent was cut from UWA&8217;s previous year&8217;s budget.

In total, around $1.57 million was cut from the University&8217;s Operations and Maintenance budget, according to Holland.

Besides the cut in government funding, UWA also had to make up for increases in state-mandated costs, such as retirement.

Other projected increases, including natural gas, power, and other utilities, were taken into consideration in planning this year&8217;s budget, Holland said. Those costs were estimated to total around $90,000.

And while it may seem logical to assume that an increase in tuition may cause a decrease in enrollment, Holland feels certain that that will not be the case.

In the 2007-2008 academic year, enrollment was up to 4,186 &8212; a 15 percent increase from the previous year. Fall 2008 enrollment totals were not yet available.

Although instate tuition increased by around $420 per year per student, academic and athletic scholarships increased accordingly.

Alumni scholarships, however, are not likely to increase according to TyAnne Stone, director of alumni relations.

If any increase is seen at all, it will probably be in the alumni chapter scholarships, but even then the increase is not likely to be directly associated with the increase in tuition.

Academic and athletic scholarships will increase for both incoming freshman and upperclassmen.