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Board or Regents vote to seek legislative approval to raise student fees

TSUS officials approve online degree, new building projects, extend Pearson contract

News Editor

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 13:11

Board or Regents vote to seek legislative approval to raise student fees

George Mattingly I The Houstonian

Provost for Academic Affairs Jaimie Hebert gave the TSUS Board of Regents an update on SHSU during their open session meetin on Friday.

Sam Houston State University students could see an increase in student center fees among several other changes to campus after The Texas State University System Board of Regents voted on several key decisions in their quarterly meeting Friday.

The Board voted to allow TSUS Chancellor Brian McCall to seek legislative approval necessary to amend the Texas Education Code that would raise the student center fee cap from $100 to $200 per semester and $50 to $75 per summer term for universities within the system.

The request to raise the cap came from SHSU President Dana Gibson as a follow-up to legislative items she discussed in her University Address in September. The request was made after students voted to raise student fees to expand the Lowman Student Center via a student referendum in October.

“SHSU students, through the Student Government Association, have been advocating for improvements to the student center,” Gibson said in a university press release. “Only through legislative action can we address their request to provide sufficient funds for these improvements without having a negative impact on the mission of the institution.”

The regents also approved a decision to request legislative approval to raise the recreational sports fee from $100 to $200 for each long semester and $50 to $100 for the summer session after a similar request from Gibson to address the growing student body.

McCall will address these items in the 83rd legislative session in January.

In other action, the regents approved SHSU to extend its license agreement with Pearson Learning Solutions, Inc. from Jan. 1, 2013 through August 31, 2016.

In September, the university took steps to re-negotiate the contract with Person Education to eliminate eCollge as the university’s learning management software to make Blackboard 9 the only online system. Aside from eCollege, Pearson Higher Education offers course mastering programs and labs.

With the new agreement, students will have access to MyLabs and Mastering tutorials at no cost, including access to MyWriting Lab throughout their time at SHSU, according to a university press release.

Gibson said students who buy electronic textbooks that accompany MyLabs will receive a 60 percent discount in order to help lower overall cost of attendance at SHSU.

In addition, the regents made several changes to academics at SHSU. The regents approved the addition of a full Bachelor of Business Administration degree offered by SHSU. The degree joins two other online undergraduate degrees at SHSU. According to Provost for Academic Affairs Jaimie Hebert, approximately 13 percent of all credit hours offered at SHSU come from online programs.

The regents also approved to divide the College of Criminal Justice into three separate departments: criminal justice and criminology, forensic science and security studies. These changes will go into effect in Fall 2013.

Lastly, the regents voted to make changes to the Capital Improvements Program to include new buildings at SHSU.

The regents approved to add a new project to build a new academic building at SHSU at the estimated cost of $1.5 million which would be funded by bonds, according to Chair of the Planning and Construction Committee for TSUS, David Montagne.

The regents voted to modify the CIP to reflect plans for an Agriculture and Engineering building at SHSU.

Montagne said the project would cost approximately $28.2 million to be funded half by gifts and half through tuition revenue bonds.

With approval from the regents, the university can begin engaging in programming, support and design for each project.

The next quarterly meeting for the Board of Regents is scheduled for Feb. 14-15 in Austin.

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