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Art, Music, Theater courses will cost more under new tuition plan

April 19th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Katie Swain

LOGAN—The Utah Board of Regents has approved Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts for differential tuition—extra fees charged for all courses in the college above the tuition required by the university. Starting July 1, all CCA courses cost students $12 more per credit hour.


Arts Dean Craig Jessop

Caine College of the Arts Dean Craig Jessop said the differential tuition increase will be offset by about half with a reduction in course fees.

“Utah State’s still a bargain,” Jessop said. “To be honest, I think an art major may come out ahead.”

Professor Chris Terry, associate dean over student affairs for the Caine College of the Arts, agreed that students would come out ahead, at least within the first year of the differential tuition. In the 2014-2015 academic year, the extra tuition for CCA courses will rise to $24 per credit hour, and to $36/credit in the 2015-2016 academic year.

“From our point of view, it’s an increase that is relatively small and prudent, but when all the students in the college are paying that, it’s going to give us a pool of money that will allow us to do really amazing things that students want us to do,” Terry said.

Associate Dean Nicholas Morrison says the tuition changes will generate about $200,000 in the first year.

Jessop said some of the ways the money will be used include: reducing course fees, reducing departmental fees, upgrading or replacing equipment, increasing the availability of visiting artists’ presentations, master class opportunities, and even developing some new programs like film, musical theater, commercial music, animation and dance.

“Obviously, the amount of money that we’re bringing in can’t pay for a film and a dance and an animation program,” Terry said. “We don’t expect that all of these things will be funded by this, but we can use this money and leverage it and magnify it.”

Jessop said that while the majority of the students’ reactions to differential tuition have been positive, there has been some understandable opposition.

“A petition was circulated and, yes, there are those that have grave concerns,” Jessop said. “It’s interesting, though, [that] on the petition of opposition it said, ‘We’re not opposed to differential tuition, we’re opposed that there is not a clear plan in how to spend it.’”

Jessop and Terry say the college intentionally has not made a specific plan for where the money will go because they wanted the decision to be a collaborative one.

“It’s important for students to realize that the allocation of these funds will be decided by a student/faculty board,” Jessop said. “They will prioritize the needs each year and then rank them and make recommendations to the dean; but it’s the students and the faculty who will make the decisions of where this money’s spent.”

Some students applaud the new tuition scheme, even though it will cost them more money—$36 per 3-credit art, music or theater class next year, rising to $108 per class in 2015. “I don’t mind paying more,” said graphic design student Ruth Ashton. “The reality is you can’t have a spectacular art department if you’re not willing to put money into it. You want to have the best education you can so when you walk out the door you can get a job. Unfortunately, that equates to keeping with the times and this crappy economy.”

Drawing and painting major Alli Perkins was also enthusiastic about the possibilities of differential tuition.

“I’m all about it!” Perkins said. “I think this is just what our college needs to really get the programs that students need and want.”

But other students have concerns.

“I am not a fan” said interior design major Valerie Jenkins. “I fear that my lab fees will no longer be used for the equipment that I need and that soon my program will fall into disrepair because all of the funds will need to be ‘redistributed’ to the individual departments. I can see that not happening the way it should, or not happening at all.”

Music therapy major Emma Hansen agrees. “Um, SUCKS for music majors, PERIOD!” she said. “It doesn’t cover any of our fees because they are all individualized. I paid close to $1,000 in fees this year and next year it will be doubled.”

But Jessop and Terry said there is money set aside in scholarship funds to help people “for whom this very small increase is in fact too much.”

“No one will be left on the sidelines,” Terry said. “And if there is somebody in the college who honestly can’t pay $12 extra for their 3 credits in the Caine College of the Arts, then we have a donor who will pay that for them.”

Jessop said even with the modest increase, the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages.

“For me, it’s a real true game-changer for the quality of education that the Caine College of the Arts can deliver to its students,” Jessop said. “It will make a huge difference.”


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