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Utah State University students will bear the burden of a 9 percent tuition increase for the 2011-12 school year, since the Utah Board of Regents voted to increase Tier I tuition by 5 percent Friday in St. George.

The Regents also approved the USU Board of Trustees' 4 percent Tier II increase that passed only a week ago. The combination of the 5 percent and 4 percent increases will have undergraduate resident students taking a standard courseload pay an extra $391 - or $4,737 total - over the course of two semesters.

Information released by the Utah System of Higher Education on Friday provided these details about the Regents' meeting at Dixie State College. The meeting was also streamed online.

"State support for our colleges and universities has been steadily declining over recent years," Board of Regents Chair David Jordan noted in the release.

William Sederburg, Utah's commissioner of higher education and CEO of the Board of Regents, had called for a 5 percent Tier I increase after the Legislature cut the higher education budget by 2 percent for the 2011-12 school year - an $18 million loss.

Sederburg also called on the institutions to take "moderate (Tier II) tuition increases" on March 11, which has since ranged from nothing at Salt Lake Community College to 7 percent at Dixie State College.

"We are the third-most efficient system in the United States, as far as expenditures per degree generated," Sederburg said during the meeting. "Our tuition is competitive. We could say no to tuition increases, but we have a responsibility to maintain quality and maintain high standards."

While the state sets Tier I rates - applied equally systemwide to assist institutions in covering various needs common to all institutions - individual institutions set Tier II rates. Tier II goes to instruction, academic support, student services, student initiatives and - in some cases - base deficit reduction. USU President Stan Albrecht announced at a tuition hearing earlier in the month that USU would retire its deficit after next year with the 4 percent Tier II increase.

Systemwide, the average total tuition increase for an undergraduate Utah resident will be about 7.5 percent in annual tuition for 15 credit hours. This adds another $38 million to the students' costs systemwide.

Also on Friday, former Snow College Alumni President and Trustee Mark Stoddard was sworn in as the newest member of the State Board of Regents. Gov. Gary Herbert named him to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by former Regent Rosanita Cespedes.

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