UA System schools freeze in-state student tuition for 2023-24 academic year


CW / Natalie Teat

Sid McDonald Hall, located on University Boulevard in Tuscaloosa, is The University of Alabama System’s headquarters.

Jacob Ritondo, Assistant News Editor

The University of Alabama System board of trustees voted on June 9 to freeze tuition and fees for the 2023-24 academic year for Alabama residents who attend one of the system’s three institutions: The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  

Out-of-state students at each school will face a 3% increase in tuition for the next academic year.  

Standard 2023-24 full-time tuition for undergraduate students will remain at $5,500 per semester for in-state students, but will increase to $16,200 per semester for out-of-state students. 

By contrast, in September 2022, the Auburn University board of trustees approved a 3% increase for tuition and fees for all students at its main campus for the fall 2023 semester. 

Last year, the UA System board of trustees raised tuition rates by 3% for in-state and 4% for out-of-state students for the 2022-23 academic year, citing concerns about inflation.  

Before that, tuition had been frozen for in-state students since the 2017-18 academic year at the University of Alabama and the 2019-20 year at the other UA System schools. Rates for out-of-state students had stayed the same since the 2019-20 year. 

Other measures of “tuition and fees,” such as the National Center for Educational Statistics, indicated recent increases in full-time freshman tuition and fees at The University of Alabama even as tuition rates alone remained the same. For instance, full-time tuition and fees for in-state freshman students rose from $10,780 in 2019-20 to $11,940 in 2022-23. During the same period, full-time freshman out-of-state students’ tuition and fees increased from $30,250 to $32,300. 

“We are focused on being responsible stewards for every dollar entrusted to us by students and families, and the tuition freeze for Alabama residents demonstrates our appreciation for the hardworking people of our state,” UA System Chancellor Finis St. John IV said. 

UA System board of trustees President Pro Tempore W. Stancil Starnes said in the same press release that the UA System “is dedicated to providing the most accessible path to a premier educational experience” in Alabama. 

“I applaud our UA System and campus leaders for implementing cost-effective measures and practicing careful fiscal management, which made the Board’s decision to reinstitute a Systemwide in-state tuition freeze possible for the upcoming academic year,” Starnes said.  

Emma O’Brien, communications specialist for the UA System, said such “cost-effective measures” and “careful fiscal management” include the UA System’s money-saving efforts, balanced budgeting, and regular monitoring of spending. 

St. John also credited the work of the Alabama Legislature and the board of trustees in making the “affordable” cost of tuition at UA System institutions possible, referencing a recent bill passed by the Legislature. 

On June 1, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Education Trust Fund Bill into law, which included over $672 million in appropriations for the UA System.  

O’Brien declined to comment on whether the board made its decision with student recruitment in mind and why in-state students had tuition frozen but not out-of-state students.  

“Due to careful fiscal management by UA System and campus leaders, this year’s nonresident increase was kept as low as possible with a rate below the Consumer Price Index and recent inflation rates,” O’Brien said. 

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index, which is calculated to provide a standard measure of inflation, the 12-month inflation rate from May 2022 to May 2023 was 4% nationwide. 

“As a public university system, we exist to serve Alabama and beyond through our mission to improve the lives of everyone we affect through teaching, research and service,” St. John said.