The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved tuition and student fees for the 2018-19 academic year.
Tuition will increase by $8 per credit hour for Oregon resident undergraduate students. The change represents a 3.97 percent increase for full-time undergraduates attending OSU’s Corvallis campus and 4.1 percent for full-time students at OSU-Cascades, where tuition is presently somewhat lower than it is on Oregon State’s main campus. Tuition will increase 2.27 percent for non-resident undergraduates on the Corvallis and OSU-Cascades campuses. Tuition will also increase for graduate students and students enrolled in Ecampus, the university’s online education program.
Approximately 12.5 percent of the increase – or more than $2 million – will be dedicated to increasing the amount of need-based financial aid that the university provides students. On average, 12.5 percent of undergraduate and Ecampus tuition annually is committed to financial aid. As well, the university provides additional discretionary funds to student financial aid.
OSU President Ed Ray told fellow trustees that the university is very mindful of the pressures that many students and their families face in paying for tuition and other costs of college attendance. He said the university works hard to limit increases in tuition while investing in high-quality college education, managing university expenses, developing new sources of revenue and lobbying the state Legislature to provide a greater percentage of funding for higher education.
“We are going to do everything we can to control costs and spend every dollar as effectively and as efficiently as possible,” Ray said. “At the same time, OSU has no control over the high costs of state-mandated retirement and health insurance programs. We are doing our best to manage all of these issues and balance the constant pressure on tuition, but we must recognize that any idea that we are going to cut our way out of this makes no sense.”
Board of Trustees Chair Rani Borkar supported the increase, while noting the challenge that the university has in balancing current needs and student financial pressures and investing in student success programs, improving graduation rates, along with strategies to advance OSU’s long-term excellence and ability to serve Oregonians.
“Our responsibility is not just for the students attending Oregon State University today,” Borkar said. “But also for the students who will attend Oregon State in the future.”
Ray said he would continue to lobby the state Legislature to increase its current share of supporting approximately 30 percent of the cost of educating students, thereby reducing the pressure on student tuition to cover the rest.
“The Legislature needs to make good on past commitments to adequately support higher education and stop putting the burden squarely on the backs of students,” Ray said. “Part of the solution has to be what the state is willing to step up and do as it regards PERS retirement benefits, in particular, and medical care benefit costs, as well. It is Salem where PERS will be solved, if ever.”
This spring, the University of Oregon has approved a 2.84 percent increase and Oregon Tech, a 4.5 percent increase. Oregon’s other four public universities have not yet adopted tuition rates for next year, but have considered increases ranging from 3.3 to 4.98 percent increase.
The tuition increase resulted after six months of work by university budget committees comprised of OSU faculty, staff, students and administrators, as well as numerous meetings held with students, faculty and staff.
The tuition and fee increases align with the university’s 10-year business forecast approved by the Board of Trustees in January. The 10-year business forecast focuses on decreasing expenses through efficiencies in management and administrative costs at all levels, redirecting resources to the highest strategic priorities, modest increases in tuition and fee rates, and strategic enrollment growth in on-site, online, and hybrid (on-site plus online) programs.
The board also discussed a new proposal from university budget leaders to create a more consistent, long-term approach for tuition planning. The proposal calls for a commitment to keep tuition increases within a narrow range of below 5 percent to allow students and families to plan and project financial matters more accurately.
The board voted 7-6 in favor of the $8 per credit hour tuition increases for undergraduates at the Corvallis campus and OSU-Cascades, after a motion to increase tuition by $7 per credit hour failed by a 6-7 vote. The board also approved:
A 3.13 percent tuition increase for Ecampus undergraduates;
A 1.89 percent tuition increase for Ecampus graduate students;
A 1.75 percent tuition increase for Oregon resident graduate students;
A 4.46 percent tuition increase for non-resident graduate students;
Tuition increases of 3 to 4 percent for students enrolled in doctorate programs in pharmacy, veterinary medicine and students enrolled in a master’s of business administration.
Increases of 2 to 6 percent in mandatory enrollment fees and student incidental fees at the Corvallis campus and OSU-Cascades.
In other business, the board approved an educator equity plan that OSU’s College of Education will use to grow the recruitment and retention of diverse students who upon graduation from the university will go on to work in local school districts throughout Oregon. In 2015, the state Legislature adopted the Oregon Educators Equity Act, requiring universities to adopt educator equity plans.
The board also heard updates on the university’s security efforts and legislative matters. Ben Cannon, executive director of the state Higher Education Coordinating Commission; as well as student leaders on OSU’s Corvallis and Bend campuses, and leaders from the university’s faculty senate and the OSU Foundation, provided reports.
During public comment, four members of the Corvallis community urged the university to relocate and retain the Sunflower House.
Before the official board meeting, board members heard a presentation on work to update OSU’s strategic plan. The plan is in its fourth update since 2004 and is intended to guide the university through 2023. An update to the plan is anticipated to be completed in June.
During Thursday committee meetings, board members heard updates on university auditing services and risks to the university regarding cyberattacks faced by OSU’s information technology and web systems. The board also heard a report on financial aid and discussed long-term financial aid strategies; received updates on OSU Athletics, the university’s strategies in the Portland region, and an overview of the College of Business.
Source: Oregon State University