North Texas Daily

Board of Regents approves degrees, does not discuss budgetary inaccuracies

Board of Regents approves degrees, does not discuss budgetary inaccuracies

February 21
15:02 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

The Board of Regents approved an increase in housing fees by 8 percent next year and 7 percent each of the three years afterward on Thursday, along with increases in food plans. They also discussed fixed tuition rate plans, but made no decisions.

UNT System recently hired auditors to investigate financial records and budgetary inaccuracies, which may be related to the apparent $1.7 million budget shortfall in the library last fall.

The board did not discuss the recent shake-up in the finance and administration department. Vice president for finance and administration Andrew Harris, senior vice president for finance Jean Bush and chief financial officer and vice president for finance at UNT Dallas Carlos Hernandez all resigned for personal reasons last Thursday.

“We are responding aggressively to understand this issue, report it to the proper agencies and take all appropriate corrective action,” system chancellor Lee Jackson said.

Both Jackson and new UNT president Neal Smatresk declined comment about the employees who resigned.

Vice president for student affairs and enrollment management Elizabeth With presented a four-year increase in housing and dining fees, which the board approved. Regular housing rates will increase by 8 percent next semester and 7 percent each of the next three semesters, but premium rooms – in which students get their own bathroom and private space – are only going up 2 percent. Five-day dining plans are going up 5.2 percent and seven-day dining plans will increase by 2.1 percent.

With said the increases are to both maintain the residence halls and improve them, saying UNT is losing potential students because residence halls look old.

“We continually get downgraded because our residence halls aren’t the ‘wow’ factor,” she said. “We know that we lose students because of that. We know that when students are comfortable in the place they live and they feel like it’s home, they’re more likely to be retained.”

With said even with these increases, UNT housing rates will still be much lower than those of competing schools.

Allen Clemson, vice chancellor for administration and chief of staff, presented on guaranteed tuition plans, but the board still doesn’t have a solid plan in place. Board members discussed potholes in four-year tuition plans, pointing out that some UNT degrees are five years and some students transfer in after two. They discussed the possibility of having multiple guaranteed tuition plans.

In the afternoon, the board approved three new degree plans, including a new doctorate in electrical engineering. Provost and vice president for academic affairs Warren Burggren presented this, along with a plans for a master’s in art degree with a major in international studies and for a bachelor’s in science with a sociology major.

The latter two degrees won’t cost anything, as they are mostly a collection of classes that are already offered and will go into effect as soon as they are organized. The doctorate will require approval from the state and will cost $300,000.

Burggren said this doctorate, the third in UNT’s engineering school, will be “a tremendous gem in the crown of our engineering college.”

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