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U. graduate students may get 30% tuition hike

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Graduate students may get hit with a more than 30 percent tuition hike as part of legislative fiscal analyst recommendations that would increase revenue by up to $2 million at the University of Utah.

The recommendations were discussed Monday by the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.Graduate students, considered full-time with 10 credit hours, now pay 10 percent more than that paid by an undergraduate student with the same class load.

But analysts recommend full-time graduate students pay 10 percent more than that paid by full-time undergraduates, or those taking 15 credit hours. U. graduate students would pay an additional $250 under the recommendation.

Such increases are not uncommon: Graduate students at the University of Oregon pay 66 percent more than undergraduates, for example.

Cecelia Foxley, Utah commissioner of higher education, said that while graduate tuition should be examined, institutions need competitive tuition to attract out-of-state students.

USU president George Emert agrees, saying graduate students can benefit universities with research. "This will make us less competitive for our students," he said.

U. President J. Bernard Machen acknowledged Emert's comments but says the tuition increase is "a good starting point."

The subcommittee also heard the regents' recommendation to increase tuition by 2.7 percent. The increase, which is tied to salary increases, would generate $4 million to fund a 3 percent salary increase, or $15 million.

U. and Salt Lake Community College student leaders support the regents' recommended tuition hike. But Regent Pamela Atkinson warned the increase could force low-income students to decrease class loads or drop out.