Talks look to steer clear of UOG tuition hike - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Talks look to steer clear of UOG tuition hike

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - Discussions continue on how to stave off a tuition hike at the University of Guam. A 12-credit hour student at the University of Guam pays roughly $5,000 in tuition fees per academic year. Come spring 2013, it would increase $228.

This may be an end result of Governor Eddie Calvo's recent veto of Bill 516, which would have provided $1.47 million for student tuition but also contained a provision detrimental to the permanent injunction case for the Department of Mental Health.

Committee on Education chairperson Speaker Judi Won Pat met with members of UOG's Student Government Association on Friday morning to discuss means of avoiding a tuition hike. One of her suggested temporary fixes was her recently-introduced Bill 509. At the bill's public hearing last week, UOG financial aid director Mark Duarte testified in favor of the legislation that would streamline the application process for federal and local aid.

"Mr. Duarte basically said with this flexibility in setting up the rules and regulations they feel it will be able to help at least 800 students get tuition assistance of about a thousand dollars. When you stop and think about it, it's almost the amount in which the tuition increase would be," she detailed.

But UOG's acting president, Dr. Helen Whippy, says this is not a permanent solution. "We really thank the Legislature and hopefully the governor for Bill 509, but it doesn't give us any more money. It takes the scholarship money that we currently have and makes it more flexible. So we could possibly give smaller amounts to more students," she explained.

SGA president Jesse Quenga says UOG students can't afford to pay any more in tuition, noting, "When tuition goes up that would require students to cover more than 50 percent to educate them. Granted, that's a nice number, 800, but 3,700 is our enrollment and if we look at it 800 might only dent the car a little when we may need to remodel the whole vehicle."

A public hearing on the tuition hike is set for Thursday at 2pm at UOG's Mangilao campus.

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