University to propose tuition increases to State Board of Higher Education

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education will review proposals to increase tuition from each Oregon University System institution at the Board’s Friday meeting in Portland. @@ it’s all in the [email protected]@

The University will submit its proposal for a 6.1 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduates amounting to a $459 hike from the 2011-12 academic year. Nonresident undergraduate rates are proposed to raise by only 3.6 percent, but due to a higher base number, the dollar amount is larger, landing at a $945 hike on an already expensive $27,653. @@[email protected]@ @@[email protected]@

Under the proposal, resident undergraduates would pay a tuition and fee total of $9,310 to attend the University next fall — a 5.9 percent increase from 2011-12. Other schools facing increases range from 2.7 percent at Eastern Oregon University to 5.3 percent at Oregon Institute of Technology. Some institutions, despite increases in tuition, managed to decrease their total cost including fees, such as Portland State University at -1.4 percent and Western Oregon University at -1.1 percent.

The increases, imposed by the University to counterbalance rising costs and a rapidly growing student population, come at a time when state funding has decreased immensely for higher education. Although substantial increases have been made at each OUS institution, the University continues to see some of the largest hikes in the system with a 7.2 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduates just a year prior.

In the ten years from the 2001-02 academic year to the 2011-12 academic year, the University saw tuition and fee increases of 115 percent, a cost of $4,718.

Jamie Moffitt, University vice president for finance and administration, wrote in her proposal that the increases come from a combination of a lack of state funding and ongoing investments on campus that require financial support. @@[email protected]@

“The University of Oregon’s goal is to keep undergraduate tuition increases as low as possible, while maintaining the quality of our academic programs. This has been difficult in recent years due to state budget cuts,” Moffitt wrote. “There are also many investments that we need to make in tenure-related faculty, classroom facilities and other infrastructure in order to support our growing student population.”

OUS spokesperson Di Saunders said that the state’s diminished budget is a main reason these hikes have been imposed at each University. She said that the system actually received less funding this biennium than it did back in the 1999-2001 biennium, not counting for inflation. @@[email protected]@

“The Board and the campuses are very aware of student concerns with any level of tuition increase, any increase directly impacts students and their families, so tuition increases are not done lightly,” Saunders said. “In an era where the higher education budgets are not even flat and are actually going down, it’s very difficult to put 30,000 more students in the system and take money away that is less than we had 12 years ago.”

ASUO President Laura Hinman said that she is personally disappointed with the increases and believes that the student lobbying of our state’s legislature and higher education board are no longer effective.

“I strongly believe in the possibilities of an institutional board. We’ve seen failed attempts year after year to increase funding from the state, and so at this point we believe for our institution it’s time we take a different approach,” Hinman said. “It’s an unfortunate situation when the people controlling our tuition rarely come to the campus.”

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