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U. formula focuses on credit hours

Being further along in school could cost students at the University of Utah next year.

Under a tuition formula adopted by the U. Board of Trustees, all U. students will pay 5.5 percent more in tuition. But undergraduates with 60 or more credit hours, plus all graduate students, will pay an additional 1.3 percent.

The additional tuition, which would increase undergraduate tuition by about $81 per semester and $104 for graduate students, is earmarked for library holdings and Web-based services for students.

"Reluctant though we are to do this, we believe we must," U. President Bernard Machen told the trustees at their monthly meeting on Monday. He said despite the generosity of the just-completed session of the Legislature, funding for the campus libraries was insufficient one-time money that must be augmented.

Trustee Randy Dryer said library funding requests are often overlooked by the Legislature. He suggested that imposing a tuition increase to bolster the funding might send lawmakers the wrong message that the university can easily make up the difference.

"We cannot play chicken with the Legislature on this," Machen responded. "This is directly tied to the quality and mission of the university. Regardless of what the Legislature does, we must step up to it."

Trustees unanimously approved the tuition increase.

The Board of Regents will review that increase and tuition recommendations at the state's eight other colleges and universities when it meets Thursday and Friday at Dixie State College in St. George.

Regents last fall tentatively approved a 4 percent tuition increase for undergraduate students at all the campuses. That level will likely have to be adjusted because the Legislature passed a 6 percent employee compensation package last month. Under state law, tuition money must generate 25 percent of the money needed to meet that increase.

The U. is recommending 1.5 percent more to cover the compensation package at the school, plus the 1.3 percent for library and Web services to students. The U. is taking advantage of a new "two-tiered" tuition policy that allows individual campuses to increase tuition beyond state levels set by the regents.

That board will review those institution-specific tuitions this week. Adjustments could range up to a maximum of 7 percent at Utah Valley State College and a maximum 4 percent at the other schools.