Thursday, January 17, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 74



Forum answers students' queries

By Ken Fountain
Senior Staff Writer

At a sparsely populated forum Wednesday afternoon, UH administrators outlined proposed fee increases that, if approved next month by the UH System Board of Regents, will take effect beginning in Fall 2003.

The forum, moderated by Vice President for Administration and Finance Randy Harris (who last week announced his resignation, effective June 30), was held in the University Center's Houston Room. A second forum is scheduled tonight from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the same location.

Harris began by noting that the state-mandated tuition for undergraduate resident students will increase to $44 per semester credit hour (SCH) from the current $42, an increase of 4.8 percent. For non-resident students, tuition will rise to $262 from $253 per SCH, an increase of 3.6 percent.

Resident graduate students' tuition will raise to $88 from $84 per SCH (4.8 percent), while tuition for non-resident graduate students will go to $306 from $295 per SCH (3.7 percent).

During the question-and-answer period at the end of the forum, political science freshman David Burkley asked the panelists if the higher tuition rate would translate into benefits for students, particularly in the form of smaller classes.

Provost Edward Sheridan answered that the University is already conducting searches for new professors who, when hired, will help reduce the teacher-to-student ratio in some classes.

The college with the single highest increase in tuition is the College of Pharmacy. The rate per SCH will increase by 25.7 percent, to $132 from $105.

Second-year pharmacy student and Student Government Association senator Bruce Hoffman asked the panelists if, in light of the large tuition increase, pharmacy students who must go to the college's facility in the Texas Medical Center can expect to have a shuttle bus service.

Sheridan told him a cost-benefit analysis of the proposal found there aren't enough students going to the medical center to make it economically feasible.

SGA President James Robertson Jr. asked the administrators whether there were plans to keep the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library open 24 hours a day throughout the school year. Sheridan answered that surveys conducted have indicated there is not yet enough student demand.

He said plans for a $45 million renovation and expansion of the library (tentatively scheduled for completion in August 2004) call for certain areas to have separate access, allowing for the future possibility that those areas might be open around the clock. 

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