|Updated: 3/30/2012 6:22 pm
||Published: 3/30/2012 7:44 am
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The talk in the University of Arkansas Little Rock's student union Friday is more about the tuition hike and less about the upcoming weekend.
"I understand that money has to come and if you want to be here you have to pay for it," Vernai Bates, an art education major, said.
To stay in school UALR students like Bates will pay an additional $303 next year.
"You have to modify and adjust and in this case, it happens to be money," said Bates.
But university leaders say rising energy costs, faculty salaries, and construction projects forced them to raise the rates.
As a result, students who attend the system's five universities and five community colleges will pay more.
"Our institutions are not immune to the ravages of inflation. Everything is costing more and it's the same on our campuses," said Donald Bobbitt, president of the University of Arkansas system.
University leaders say with hikes, it's now important more than ever for alumni to give up, to offset the increases.
"Those funds actually we couldn't operate without them. It really provides the icing on the cake if you will," said David Gearhart, chancellor for the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
And while most students will look for more ways to foot the bill Bates believes college has now become a luxury.
"There are many people who after they graduate from college, they already have it in their heads I have to get a job, I can't afford it," Bates said.