Earlier today, officials from the University of Guam deliberated on whether or not to raise the institution’s tuition to make up for a funding shortfall from the Government of Guam.
Following a discussion about ensuring financial stability for the University of Guam, the institution’s Board of Regents decided to increase UOG’s tuition by 5% starting Fall 2020 to cap at 30%.
This decision comes in the wake of students expressing their concerns about their ability to afford higher education and the amount of time they would be given to prepare for the increase, which was initially proposed to be increased by 10% percent each semester until Spring 2021.
Anthony, a sophomore at the university, is one of almost half of the student population at UOG who use financial aid to pay for their education.
“There’s other students I know who – friends of mine – who actually are having trouble paying for school and plus, they may go into debt,” he said.
The reason for the raise is due to a $6.2 million shortfall in the university’s general fund appropriation in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget.
But while this decision provides some time for students to get ready for the increase, the percentage would be contingent on the Government of Guam’s commitment to fund the university and the UOG president’s choice on whether to raise tuition.
Dr. Thomas Krise, UOG President, said the board authorized him to alter the amount downward and the implementation schedule outward “as we’re able to.”
“So if we find other sources of revenue from any source of revenue, then we’d be able to adjust that over time. We recognize that keeping it affordable is really important,” Krise said.
UOG alumna Senator Amanda Shelton, who has oversight over higher education, said that while she appreciates the board’s compromise, she firmly opposes the increase.
In order to improve accessibility to higher education, she has introduced Bill 222-35, which would require graduating high school seniors to apply for federal financial aid as well as Bill 197-35 which would allow UOG to enter into public-private partnerships to raise its income.
“Really, knowing how much the University of Guam helped me, helped me find my path in life. Helped me find my passion for service. I know that it can do the same for so many more students and I want them to have that same accessibility and that same opportunity,” the senator said.