UT-Dallas: Way Less Fun and Way More Expensive than UT-Austin

UTDWhoosh.jpg
UTD
When you pay this much for college, you can't afford a car. Whoosh!
It wasn't without some pride that I saw last week that my alma mater, the University of Texas at Dallas, had earned what may be its first superlative. (OK, maybe its second, but the most-hideous-architecture label was unofficial.) The Texas Tribune has helpfully compiled a list of average tuition and fees at the state's public universities, and look who's on top by a solid 14 percent over the UT system's so-called flagship in Austin? For reference, that's like the Mavs ending the season with a 11.5-game lead over the Spurs. Go Comets! Whoosh!

Looking a bit further down the list, I noticed that a couple of other local universities, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas, are well above the statewide average of $7,166 per year and are each more expensive than Texas A&M. (Insert Aggie joke here).
So why are our local institutions -- Texas Women's University and fledgling University of North Texas -- Dallas excluded -- so much more expensive than the rest of the state? Short answer: They chose to be.

Back in 2003, the state legislature, in its infinite wisdom, transferred responsibility for setting tuition from elected lawmakers to the boards of the schools, which are appointed. The unsurprising result has been that the cost of college has skyrocketed.

Still, the numbers are striking. According to a March report by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, average total cost of attending a Texas university just about doubled between fall 2003 and fall 2011. When you look at the "designated tuition," the slice of that cost determined by the university, the numbers are ever more staggering. At UTD, that number increased by 305 percent during the eight-year period. This even as, over the past five years, the state's support for higher education has actually seen a modest increase, though not enough to keep pace with increased enrollment.

The bad news is there is no ceiling so long as schools meet "acceptable performance criteria" in areas such as graduation and retention rates, enrollment growth and educational quality.

The good news is, you can still go to school on the cheap Texas A&M-Texarkana.
Nice town. The Golden Corral there is fantastic.
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15 comments
Aw00d05
Aw00d05

The amount of Scholarships given out by UTD make up for the high tuition...

Mc
Mc

I'm amazed at how ignorant this post is! Why not do what another local blog did and *actually call* to get a response to this ranking? I guess its easier to pull a pic - taken at what was surely a kick-ass study abroad trip - and make fun of students trying to get an education. You sure showed them!!

MES
MES

I'm thinking your probably the one on the right with the red shirt. Don't take it so personally!

By the way I wonder if the "kick-ass study abroad" experiences makes paying more for $$ less sooo worth it. (insert ironic whoosh).

Seriously though, how many students have graduated from there with more debt than necessary due to this 300% increase? As a UTD alumn myself I wonder why the hell I paid more here than I would have in Austin where my college credentials would be way more respected for my line on business than they are coming from comet central.  

Oh I'm sure the schools spokesperson would have some warm fuzzies to say which make everyone feel like it's all okay.  So sad I didn't get to hear that bit of PR dribble....

mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

UTD is probably more expensive because they've got a bunch of building plans they think will make them "Tier 1" [I swear, that mantra's repeated more often in the few alumni updates I get (class of '96) than "world-class city" gets repeated in Marilla Street press conferences.]

UTA, on the other hand, is probably more expensive because they are now paying off the new construction they needed to support and grow the world-class, top-tier, bitchin' engineering department they already had.

Matthew Gunter
Matthew Gunter

My tuition at UNT was $2,000 or so my first semester. I'm only 30.

Paul
Paul

Why is it that when enrollment goes up that tuition also goes up?  If universities and colleges do not benefit from an economy of scale, then why is there the pressure to have larger and larger universities?

Shouldn't the model then be to have many smaller universities and colleges rather than a few large ones?

Why does tuition increase as the student enrollment increases?

Dallas_Joe_Schmo
Dallas_Joe_Schmo

This is actually a very good question, but one that has an easy answer.  Schools have to keep ratios of students/professors for various grants, fees, pride, rankings etc.  Thus, if enrollment goes up, they "have to" hire more professors.  No one likes a class with 200 people, but everyone loves the seminar type classes with only 8 other students. Increase enrollment by 50 students and you still won't have enough to cover the salary, benefits, equipment, etc etc that it takes to have +1 professor.  Add to that the costs of added students such as computer equipment, wear and tear, extra staff necessary, and you need to increase tuition.  Maybe not 300% but still.

dallasmay
dallasmay

I wish they had included Private schools as well. SMU would be around $42000/year for tuition and fees!

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Hey, they stole my bit!  I made that "Whoosh!" shit up in '94 while drunk off my ass in a Waterview apartment!

Or possibly in the Phase 3 pool.  A lot of those memories are pretty murky.

guest
guest

murky like the phase 3 pool, no doubt

Gabe
Gabe

DCCCD schools offer fantastic learning opportunities for the first two years of school. Tuition (for county residents) is $45 per credit hour and you can financial aid. /thanksfortheplugopportunity 

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Many in DISD admin act like we're selling the kids down the river if we promote community colleges, regardless of the fact that community colleges are more affordable and a good value.

Field trips to OU, Baylor, A&M, UT Austin--regardless of the unnecessary expense to taxpayers--are approved...no problem.Gotta prove that we are getting kids ready for "real" colleges.Gotta show the kids the "real" college scene or they won't work like slaves to score high on their unnecessary-for-college STAAR tests in the meantime.

I think what's also going on is that DISD people must get some kind of kick-back from the SAT, ACT, AP people.  Community colleges don't require those tests.  Therefore, we don't promote community colleges.

scottindallas
scottindallas

my wife did that and earned a full scholarship to SMU.

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