The University of Arkansas at Hope held its 2017 year-end luncheon in a joint session with its Board of Visitors meeting before a capacity crowd of 200 at Hempstead Hall on the UA-Hope campus on Friday afternoon.

The University of Arkansas at Hope held its 2017 year-end luncheon in a joint session with its Board of Visitors meeting before a capacity crowd of 200 at Hempstead Hall on the UA-Hope campus on Friday afternoon.
In the joint session, UA-Hope Chancellor Chris Thomason announced a set of tuition increases ranging from “In District” of 3.1-percent to “In State” of 4.2-percent to “Out of State” of 3.4-percent.
The new increases will drive the total average cost of full-time studies, defined as 30 credit hours per year (in District) up to approximately $2,740. “In District” was defined as within the University’s service district, which does include both Hope and Nevada counties.
Just one year ago, the Board of Visitors had approved a 1.6-percent tuition and six-percent fee increase, making the full-time cost approximately $2,600.
This time, Thomason said that there would be no increase in total hourly mandatory fees.
As a second consecutive year of increases happen, Thomason did say “The university will remain at the top of the list of the most affordable colleges in the state.”
Thomason defended the tuition hikes in maintaining that faculty and staff raises were needed to retain talent.  During the joint session, Thomason also had announced a proposed three-percent across the board pay increase for faculty and classified personnel.
“We have good people, talented people who contribute to our success as a university and to our students’ successes. As a rural community college, we recognize our pay scales are not the same as other places that people can go.  We want to keep our good and talented people here,” he said.
Thomason added, “As far as the state, we still face a ‘zero funding growth’ environment.”
In a related announcement, Thomason said that future state funding formulas, starting next academic year, will be based on student outcomes — how many students actually graduate and stay in degree programs — rather than conventional head-counts base on enrollment numbers.
“Retention and good student experiences are more vital than ever in that effort; our biggest assets in providing that are the good people we have here, and that is part of the reason we wanted those raises. Their continued good work is going key to a stronger future,” he said.
Next week’s graduation will mark a third consecutive record-breaking graduation class, with more students getting more degrees and certificates than ever before. An estimated 224 graduates are expected to walk the aisle at next Tuesday, with the grand total of diplomas, certificates, and technical credentials awarded to number well over 300 for 2017.
In addition, UA-Hope is seeing solid enrollment numbers for the upcoming Summer Sessions and Fall 2017 after seeing across the board record enrollments in 2016.
“The numbers so far are really very comparable, almost even to what was here last year,” Thomason said.
Summer One, starting at the end of May, currently has 276 students enrolled, while Summer Two, starting in July, currently has 114 students. For Fall 2017, the present enrollment stands at 542, only two students difference from last year’s all-time record.
The Board of Visitors approved both the tuition increase and the pay raise proposals, and they will move on to the State Board of Trustees for approval on May 22.