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University course fees going up

Fees for some college courses will go up in the next two years. The state Board of Regents on Thursday approved a host of special course fees and a program that would charge more for popular, expensive programs at the universities.

The higher education board approved what is being called a differential tuition model for the two universities. UNLV will double the per credit fee of $156 for nursing, physical therapy and architecture programs. The per credit fee for graduate courses will double from its current $239.

The fees will go into effect in the spring 2012 semester.

“These programs are very expensive,” UNLV President Neal Smatresk said.

State higher education officials have been considering the differential tuition model for at least two years. It is used in other states to offset the cost of some expensive programs.

At UNR, only engineering programs will be more expensive than other programs.

The move comes as the higher education system has undergone budget cuts three years in a row. More cuts are expected next year.

The policy adopted Thursday requires that all money raised through the higher fees stay with the programs that charged the fees. Fifteen percent of the extra money must be used for need-based scholarships.

UNLV officials say the extra money in the architecture program would add more than $10,000 for need-based financial aid in that program. The rest of the money raised would be used to hire more student workers so the program could keep its lab open longer and update lab and classroom equipment.

The extra charges in the nursing program would add almost $250,000 a year for need-based financial aid. The rest would help pay professional staffers and help fund clinical faculty.

The extra charges in the physical therapy program would fund $10,000 a year in need-based aid. The rest would be used to fill a frozen faculty position and to hire more staff.

In addition to the differential tuition , regents approved changes in some special course fees and the addition of others.

Examples include a new $60 GED testing fee at the College of Southern Nevada, a $25 increase in the graduation fee at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a new $25 per credit distance education fee at Nevada State College.

The new and increased fees would raise an estimated $487,200 for UNLV, $695,000 for the state college and $558,593 for the community college.

They are set to go into effect in the fall 2011 semester.

Contact Richard Lake at rlake@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307.

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