The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted on Friday to raise student tuition by five percent in the 2015-16 academic year. Eighty percent of the revenues generated by the increase going to faculty and staff compensation.

Additionally, trustees adopted a policy calling for ongoing tuition increases of four percent annually, subject to modification by the board each year. This provides a way to provide predictability for students while meeting anticipated cost increases to maintain and enhance UW’s quality of education.

Tuition for resident undergraduates at UW is expected to remain the lowest among the nation’s 173 public doctoral degree-granting institutions, even with the tuition increases.

“Raising tuition is never an easy decision, but this tuition policy will provide students and families with information to assist in their financial planning while helping the university meet its most pressing needs,” Board of Trustees President Dave Palmerlee says. “Revenue from tuition increases should always be expended in ways that directly affect the quality of education for UW students, and that’s exactly what the new policy calls for.”

The increase approved for 2015-16 amounts to $90 per semester for full-time resident undergraduate students and $165 for nonresident undergraduates. The increase is higher than the annual four percent hike envisioned by the long-term tuition policy because the need to address faculty and staff salaries is so serious, trustees say.

Despite state funding for compensation increases, pay levels for UW faculty and staff remain well below market levels.

“Retaining and hiring excellent faculty and staff members is essential for UW to provide the best possible education for its students,” UW President Dick McGinity says. “It’s entirely appropriate that tuition revenues from students be used for this important purpose."

UW officials emphasize that the long-term tuition policy will serve only as a guide in preparing annual administrative recommendations for the trustees. The board will retain the authority to “take any action it determines regarding tuition rates and the distribution of revenue generated from modifications to tuition,” according to the policy.

Under the policy, UW’s administration will continue to provide annual updates on UW’s cost of attendance, and how the university’s tuition and fee rates compare with other institutions.