UOG: Tuition increase needed for critical student services

UOG president Thomas Krise said a tuition increase is needed for critical student services.

Students at the University of Guam will be paying more to attend school starting later this year, but UOG officials said this is needed to improve student services.

University officials were reporting to lawmakers on a number of topics during an oversight hearing on UOG this morning.

Among the topics discussed were the university’s financial sustainability and a tuition increase on the horizon.

At the oversight hearing, UOG president Thomas Krise said a tuition increase is needed for critical student services.

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He says resource demands have been increasing and government funding has not been keeping up. In fact, the school has been getting less money from the government in recent years and is slated to receive even less in the 2020-2021 budget.

The university is looking to increase tuition by about 5 percent per credit hour this fall, meaning a full-time student will be paying an additional $132 dollars per semester. That 5 percent increase would generate an additional $1 million for the school.

Krise said while it’s normal for university tuition to rise in some degree, he and his team are also working to aggressively pursue other methods of income.

“So we have a number of different things that are happening already. One is auxiliary services, so that includes our residence halls, our food services, our book store, anything that can generate additional services. Another would be programs like the Water and Environmental Research Institute, WERI, that has recently expanded their capacity for water testing. So they’re now able to test water for virtually everything. This should help companies and save them from having to send their water to be tested off-island, often for as much as $20,000 a sample, to have it tested in Honolulu or the mainland. So we can do that testing here, much cheaper,” Krise said.

University officials are also hoping lawmakers will pass the “21st Century Legislation” which would cut social security contributions for the school and its student employees, allowing the school to invest that money back into student needs.

UOG officials also shared the good news that the number of students graduating has increased. From 2016 to today, the university has gone from a 27 percent graduation rate to 39 percent.

And more students are sticking around, with the university hitting an 80 percent retention rate.