UDC to nearly double tuition over two years

The University of the District of Columbia Board of Trustees passed a proposal to gradually double tuition on Wednesday, after more than a week of controversy and student protests surrounding the measure.

UDC students currently pay $3,770 a year, but under UDC President Allen Sessoms’ new plan, tuition for D.C. residents will eventually jump to $7,000 per year. The increase will be phased in stages, with students paying $1,600 more in fall 2009 and $1,700 more in fall 2010.

Sessoms announced Tuesday that he would revise the original proposed tuition increase, which was not split up into a tiered payment system, thanks to additional funds allocated to the school by the Congressional economic stimulus bill.

“We do hope it eases the burden for [students],” said Jackie Boynton, UDC associate vice president for marketing, communications and alumni affairs. “And certainly we are still allowing them to see that there is a need for the increase because we do need to work on our fiscal plan and have a more robust faculty and state of the art technology, and this will still allow the university to reach those goals.”

But some UDC students are disappointed in the decision and said they will continue to voice their concerns in protest. More than one hundred students joined “Operation Save UDC” and have been camping out in tents on campus since Saturday.

“It’s not like people will be able to afford that type of increase two years from now,” said Joshua Lopez, a senior who has helped lead Operation Save UDC. “We still think it’s unfair.”

Sessoms’ proposal will also increase tuition for nonresidents to $14,000 a year, implement a separate community college with open admissions that will cost $3,000 a year, raise admissions standards for the four-year university and get rid of its open-door policy that allows anyone to enroll.

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