UK capping mandatory fees, tuition, will save some students $$$

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/UK PUBLIC AFFAIRS) The University of Kentucky this fall will cap tuition and mandatory fees for all full-time undergraduate students regardless of how many in-class or online classes a student takes.

For many students, the result will be a reduction in tuition this fall of several hundred, if not thousands, of dollars. The change was announced Friday by UK President Eli Capilouto as the university prepares to restart in-class instruction in August for the Fall 2020 semester.

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The first day of undergraduate instruction will be Aug. 17.

“We want to do everything possible for students and families to ensure that they can take full advantage of the distinctive educational experience we provide at the University of Kentucky,” Capilouto said. “Particularly as we return to in-class instruction, while still grappling with a global pandemic, it’s critical that our tuition pricing reflects fairness, consistency and a commitment to access and affordability. That’s what this pricing move represents.”

Specifically, for the Fall 2020 semester, tuition and mandatory fees will be capped at $6,242 for full-time undergraduate resident students and $15,647 for nonresident students irrespective of how many courses a student takes in-class, online or hybrid (a combination of face-to-face and online).

In the wake of COVID-19, more and more classes are being offered online, meaning that many undergraduate students would pay higher tuition and mandatory fees than they would with more in-class options. As a result, Capilouto said that for the fall semester, it is important to establish a cap on tuition to ensure fairness and affordability.

UK officials estimate the change will cost the university about $5 million in lost tuition revenue. The university will evaluate whether to continue capping tuition for the Spring 2021 semester.

The potential savings for many students are significant. For example, a full-time Kentucky undergraduate student taking 12 hours of courses face-to-face and three hours online would normally pay $7,937 in total tuition and mandatory fees.

With the cap this fall, the same student would pay $6,242 for the same mix of courses — a savings of almost $1,700.  The university will continue to assess a $10 per credit hour Distance Learning Fee for all courses offered through distance learning such as fully online, hybrid, and off-campus to fund related costs.

The UK Board of Trustees last month approved a tuition increase for resident students this fall of 1% and 2% for nonresident students. The resident rate reflects the lowest increase in more than 35 years.

This year, UK is providing financial aid of about $150 million — nearly triple what UK offered in 2011 at the beginning of Capilouto’s tenure.

“Tuition and fees should be affordable and reflect the available options,” Capilouto said. “Given the pandemic, we are adjusting our pricing strategy for the fall semester due to limited options.”