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
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
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.