UAFS

UAFS tops state list with 18.9 per­cent cost in­crease John Brown University’s av­er­age net price de­creased by 1.3 per­cent to $19,687, while Oua­chita Bap­tist University’s av­er­age net price fell by 1.6 per­cent to $18,789.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - JAIME ADAME

tops list with cost in­crease of 18.9 per­cent.

Three of the state’s six largest pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties saw av­er­age net price in­creases of more than $1,000 in 2015-16, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent fed­eral data up­dated ear­lier this month.

Av­er­age net price is a cal­cu­la­tion that es­ti­mates a year’s ex­penses mi­nus aid, also fac­tor­ing in costs be­yond tu­ition such as hous­ing and books. The in­for­ma­tion is pub­lished at col­le­ge­nav­i­ga­tor.gov for first-time, full­time stu­dents get­ting gov­ern­men­tal or in­sti­tu­tional aid. For pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, it in­cludes only stu­dents pay­ing in-state tu­ition.

All six of the state’s largest pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, as ranked by un­der­grad­u­ate en­roll­ment, had in­creases to their av­er­age net price.

The largest av­er­age net price in­crease was at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, where the es­ti­mated true cost of at­ten­dance in­creased by 18.9 per­cent to $8,858 com­pared with $7,447 a year ear­lier.

Ju­dith Hansen, a spokesman for the university, re­ferred to the university’s low tu­ition com­pared with other uni­ver­si­ties in the state. The school’s av­er­age net price was the low­est among the six largest pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties.

Brad Sher­iff, UAFS’ vice chan­cel­lor for fi­nance and ad­min­is­tra­tion, said in a state­ment that the university’s tu­ition and fees “have had to in­crease over the years,” not­ing the school’s roots as a com­mu­nity col­lege.

“Be­com­ing a com­pre­hen­sive re­gional university has meant in­creased fund­ing for im­prove­ment to ed­u­ca­tional re­sources, for ad­di­tions to fac­ulty, and for the cre­ation of an en­tirely dif­fer­ent kind of stu­dent ex­pe­ri­ence,” Sher­iff said, adding that tu­ition and fees “have had to in­crease over the years.”

Arkansas Tech University’s av­er­age net price in­creased by 12.4 per­cent to $10,887 com­pared with $9,684 a year ear­lier. The University of Arkansas at Lit­tle Rock saw its av­er­age net price in­crease by 10.2 per­cent to $12,317 from $11,177.

The state’s largest school, UA-Fayet­teville, saw a 4.9 per­cent in­crease to $15,411; Arkansas State University at Jones­boro’s av­er­age net price in­creased by 3.5 per­cent to $12,310; and the University of Cen­tral Arkansas saw its av­er­age net price in­crease 1.5 per­cent to $12,988.

Among in­de­pen­dent col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties, Harding University in Searcy saw its av­er­age net price in­crease by 4.5 per­cent to $18,372.

Other pri­vate schools saw de­creases in av­er­age net price, in­clud­ing Hen­drix Col­lege in Con­way, where the es­ti­mated true cost of at­ten­dance de­creased by 8.7 per­cent to $22,777.

Sam Ni­chols, vice pres­i­dent for en­roll­ment for Hen­drix, said the school in 201516 be­gan of­fer­ing its Arkansas Ad­van­tage aid pro­gram to meet the fi­nan­cial need of stu­dents who meet cer­tain aca­demic qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Prospec­tive stu­dents “should in­ves­ti­gate any col­lege where you think you’re go­ing to be a good fit to see what level of fi­nan­cial re­sources they have avail­able to make it af­ford­able,” Ni­chols said, not­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween the Hen­drix av­er­age net price and its “sticker price.” For 2017-18, the col­lege’s pub­lished cost of at­ten­dance is $60,158.

John Brown University in Siloam Springs and Oua­chita Bap­tist University in Arkadel­phia also saw lower av­er­age net prices for 2015-16 than a year ear­lier.

John Brown’s av­er­age net price de­creased by 1.3 per­cent to $19,687, while Oua­chita Bap­tist’s av­er­age net price fell by 1.6 per­cent to $18,789.

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