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February 16, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The University of the District of Columbia Proposes Graduated Tuition Increase

Washington, DC – The University is pleased to announce that the economic stimulus package, to be signed by President Obama on Tuesday, provides UDC with sufficient new operating resources that we can now phase in the proposed tuition increase over the next two academic years. President Allen L. Sessoms will submit a revised tuition increase proposal to the University’s Board of Trustees slating an increase of $1600 effective fall of 2009 with an additional increase of $1700 effective fall of 2010. (Tuition will decrease for the 30-40% of UDC students enrolled in associate degree, workforce development and other programs in UDC’s community college component.)

“UDC students deserve the academic experience and services worthy of their capabilities and highest aspirations;” Dr. Sessoms said, “The challenge is finding the resources to provide uniformly first rate academic programs, the support services our students need, and a physical plant that is safe, up-to-date, and respectful of the academic enterprise. The reality is that we need increased funding from all available sources to meet our mission and our obligations to the citizens of the District of Columbia. In our tuition increase proposals, we are actually attempting to minimize the contributions we are asking students to make – and most will be covered by financial aid.”

Dr. Sessoms stressed that the proposed tuition increase, which includes student fees, is a response to necessity. Out of total University expenditures of $108 million, only $17 million is met by tuition and fees. Annual appropriations from the District of Columbia of about $60 million have remained flat since 1997. Meanwhile, costs have risen and the campus facilities and infrastructure have deteriorated. In addition, indications are that the Executive Branch is contemplating cutting its capital contribution to UDC from $32 million to $8 million, a loss of $24 million. Given the Council's stated support for the University's vision, we hope they will revisit the amount allocated to UDC in the capital budget and work with the Executive Branch to restore all or part of the proposed reduction so that the University can begin to significantly address its serious infrastructure needs.

“Most essential to addressing the University’s capacity to grow and compete in the marketplace,” Sessoms says, “is a level of autonomy from the District.”  Autonomy would allow UDC, with transparency and accountability, to control the use and disbursement of all funds and property. Moreover, autonomy would give UDC the authority to set its own budget and regulate the allocation of funds within its budget. The level of autonomy being sought, he explained, is that enjoyed by many public universities across the nation. Legislation to this effect is currently being considered by the Council of the District of Columbia.

To students, Dr. Sessoms and the Board of Trustees make the following commitments:
 

 “It is my hope going forward that we, the administration, community, students and faculty, do our parts and work together to build a national model of proud, progressive public education in and for the District of Columbia.”

 

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            The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities.  The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia.  The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro. 

CONTACT:  Karen Hayes at lstephens@chasecreekmediadc.com or 240.535.2059 or Jackie Boynton at jboynton@udc.edu or 202.997.7161.