The University of Puerto Rico Governing Board Plans a Tuition Hike
Governing Board Chairman Jorge Sánchez said the move does not necessarily mean that tuition will be raised in August. He said the board has put of analysis of the issue until at least April. “A possible tuition increase will be evaluated in April of May. The moratorium will be in place until August, as was decided last year. So there is no increase for now,” he said. The UPR General Student Council is expected to announce Tuesday its next steps to combat a tuition hike that they say has already been decided. Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, citing UPR autonomy, has steered clear of the issue.
The UPR board approved a petition by a financial advisory committee to extend until December a deadline for the panel’s report on a 4 percent tuition increase. The committee is made up of student, professors and administrators. UPR President Uroyoán Walker is due to submit a report in late April on measures to maintain the system’s “operational excellence” in the face of budget cuts.
Walker signaled Monday morning that a tuition hike won’t be implemented before the start of the next academic year in August. “A tuition hike is unrealistic,” Walker said in a radio interview, adding it would be “difficult” from an operational standpoint.
UPR remains among the cheapest higher education options in the U.S, according to U.S. Department of Education data. The data show that eight of UPR’s 10 undergraduate campuses rank among the 35 four-year public colleges with the lowest tuition in the U.S., the Education Department said in its latest annual look at college affordability. The other two are also in the lowest-priced 5 percent in the nation.
The current rankings would likely be even higher on the affordability scale because the data are for 2011-2012, before Puerto Rico reversed a $800 per student annual fee implemented in 2010 to close a budget gap. Gov. Alejandro García Padilla inked legislation last year eliminating the $800 tuition increase.
According to the data, the flagship Río Piedras campus was the 24th cheapest four-year public college in the nation with annual tuition of $2,746, far below the U.S. average of $7,135 for four-year public colleges. It was fourth cheapest in last year’s report ($1,878), which was based on tuition before the $800 fee was implemented.
UPR Río Piedras is followed directly by five other UPR campuses ― Aguadilla, Humacao, Mayaguez, Ponce and Utuado. UPR’s Arecibo (31), Bayamón (32), Carolina (55) and Cayey campuses all make the 75 cheapest rankings.