Q. What is differential tuition for engineering students?

Differential tuition is an additional charge that pays for enhancements to the learning experience of undergraduate students in engineering. These enhancements include extra sections of over full courses, new computers and equipment, and even extra lecturers to teach classes.

Q. Why does the Texas A&M University College of Engineering charge differential tuition?

Technology changes so fast these days. To provide relevant engineering education and prepare you for entering the workforce, we have to make sure our equipment and laboratories keep pace with these advancing technologies.

And it’s not just at Texas A&M. Seven of nine public institutions with undergraduate engineering programs ranked higher than or equal to Texas A&M Engineering charge differential tuition. So in 2010, the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System approved differential tuition to help make sure that we can keep up with our peers in terms of resources available to our students.

Q. Who pays differential tuition?

All undergraduate students majoring in engineering.

Q. How much is differential tuition?

Full-time students (that is, those who take 12 student credit hours or more) will pay $400 per semester for fall and spring semesters. Part-time students pay prorated differential tuition of $33.33 per student credit hours. No differential tuition is paid during summer sessions.

Q. How will my differential tuition dollars be spent?

All money raised through differential tuition will fund on enhancing undergraduate education. This year in Aerospace Engineering, funds from Differential Tuition have been spent on the following:

Q. Lecturers

  • David Kanipe '70 - David Kanipe brings his extensive experience with NASA / Johnson Space Center to teach students in the senior capstone sequence. Retired from NASA after almost 40 years, Mr. Kanipe served as Chief of the Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division in the Engineering Directorate during his last ten years at NASA. Mr. Kanipe served as a lecturer for the space option of the AERO 401 / 402 capstone design experience.
  • Xavier Poulain - With 70 students in a classroom learning C++ programming for the first time, effective teaching and learning can be quite difficult. Therefore, funds from differential tuition were used to support Dr. Poulain, a lecturer, in Fall 2011 for AERO 220 - Introduction to Aerospace Computation. This allowed an additional section of AERO 220, taught by Dr. Poulain, to be created. Therefore, students were able to learn in a much smaller environment and were able to have recitation time in a smaller computer lab, which enhanced their learning experience.
  • Oscar Martinez Palafox - Dr. Palafox served as a lecturer in the department. He taught classes, such as AERO 210 - Aerospace Mechanics II, 220 - Introduction to Aerospace Computation, and 310 - Aerospace Dynamics. He takes this teaching experience to the classroom to help develop hands-on experiential education activities for the students in these traditional lecture-type classes. By having a student obtain equations for dynamics by using a gyroscope, for example, students have a much clearer idea of how this information is derived.
  • Wayne A. Lutz '72Wayne Lutz is a retired Lt. Col. in the USAF and retired from Boeing. He brings a wealth of knowledge from industry to the airplane section of the AERO 401 senior capstone design course. While he has served as a lecturer for the last year in the department, funds for differential tuition are being used to enhance the course, such as tying the projects closer to industry as has been done this semester with a design related to Air Tractor, a leading ag-aircraft company founded by a former student, Leland Snow '52.
  • Lab Instructor LecturerThis new position will be filled in the very near future. The experience the undergraduates receive will be greatly enhanced by having more relevant experiments, up-to-date working equipment, new hands-on learning experiences, and safer practices in place for the students taking labs, such as AERO 213 - Material Science for Aerospace, 302 - Aerospace Laboratory (Wind Tunnel Testing), and 305 - Aerospace Laboratory II (Structures).

Q. Laboratory

  • Turbine Technologies' Jet Engine System - Designed to proved a rare educational experience, the jet engine system offers students an extremely exciting opportunity - operation of a real jet engine. This piece of equipment is housed in the Laser Diagnostics Lab in WERC and provides a much needed hands-on experiential learning activity for AERO 212 - Thermodynamics. In addition, it will be used in AERO 351 - Aerothermodynamics and Propulsion and 417 - Aerospace Propulsion. The see the AERO 212 class running the jet engine, click here.
  • Unmanned Air System (UAS) Dynamics and Control Flight Experience- This equipment will permit students in AERO 421 – Dynamics of Aerospace Vehicles, 422 – Active Controls for Aerospace Vehicles, and 445 – Vehicle Management Systems to collect and analyze real stability and control data obtained from flight testing of UAS vehicles.  Currently, students in these courses use data generated from flight simulation computer programs for in-class examples, homework, and laboratory assignments.  Enabling students to participate in the experiment design, collection, and analysis of real flight data will provide a unique student experience. Additionally, students can design flight control laws for this UAS equipment and then test fly them.  
  • Materials and Structures – Experiments are being developed to demonstrate concepts taught in historically traditional lecture-type classes, such as AERO 304 – Structural Analysis I and AERO 306 – Structural Analysis II.  Currently, the department is lacking realistic, instrumented experiments to demonstrate bending/torsion of wing boxes, open and closed cells, bend/twist coupling of composite laminates, buckling, and thermal stresses.  Experiments built for this will also be useful in courses, such as AERO 214 – Aerospace Engineering Principles of Continuum Mechanics and AERO 405 – Aerospace Structural Design.
  • Capstone Teaching Lab / Presentation Area – Located in 236 WERC, this area provides close proximity to the capstone design lecturers and an area for students to work on their design, practice presentations for the course, etc.  The room will soon be outfitted with laptop computers with access to all software needed for their classes.  In addition, undergraduate student advisory board for the department has developed an undergraduate seminar series, which will help to enhance the experience of students by expanding their knowledge base and understanding of engineering software utilized in their classes.
  • Design Studio – A design studio will be developed in 221 WERC very soon.  The area will serve as an area where students can generate ideas and work on project designs.  Complete with working tables, an open space, computer support, and smart technology to capture ideas, the space will be useful for senior capstone design students and student design projects.
  • Help Desk in 6th Floor HRBB Computer Lab – Presently, students needing assistance with software for classes or their computer account in general do not have a support person who is always readily available for students.  A help desk will be constructed in the 6th floor HRBB computer lab, which will serve as a resource for students and support each of the undergraduate Aerospace Engineering classes.