TCU to match national average by raising costs

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    Projected increases to the TCU budget will take into account rising costs in tuition, housing, health insurance, utilities and athletics, the vice chancellor for finance and administration said Tuesday.Vice Chancellor Brian Gutierrez said at a Staff Assembly meeting that while TCU currently remains under the national trend line for increasing tuition costs at four-year private universities, an anticipated rise in tuition would cause the university to meet the national average by 2007.

    Gutierrez said that TCU tuition is expected to rise by 8 percent, housing by 5 percent and financial aid by 8 percent.

    Staff Assembly chairwoman Hao Tran said she feels the increases reflect a national trend in higher education.

    “This mirrors what Bush is doing,” Tran said. “He’s decreasing financial aid, but he’s increasing programs that will offset the economic impact.”

    Health insurance costs are also expected to rise by 12 percent, but the university will lessen the impact on university employees with a 33 percent increase for the compensation pool and benefits, Gutierrez said.

    Gutierrez said this will include a $500 flat-rate raise for full-time employees to be added to regular wages and distributed evenly over one year.

    Tara Perez, a horticulture assistant who has been active in the TCU Living Wage Campaign for staff members, said she saw the proposed flat-rate raise as a positive step.

    “We still have a long way to go, but the main thing is the way they’ve done the raises is a positive step,” Perez said.

    Tran, who is the worker’s compensation coordinator for TCU, said she was also pleased with the way the university structured raises.

    There is an anticipated $1.4 million in utilities, which Gutierrez said reflects increasing fuel costs, as well as a $600,000 increase for the athletic department.

    These figures are all based on budget assumptions, until the Board of Trustees considers the issue of a capital campaign to allocate resources to development, Gutierrez said. He said official numbers should be released by April.