The State Board of Higher Education addressed two primary issues for the University at this morning’s meeting: approval for tuition increase and an agreement to wait on the proposed new fees for the EMU and student recreation center renovations.
The proposed tuition increase of 7.5 percent for non-resident undergraduates and 9 percent for resident undergraduates was approved in conjunction with several other budget changes, University Provost James Bean said.
“It’s certainly higher than we would like to do,” Bean said of the increase, adding that it was the lowest possible increase given “the continuing disinvestment (in higher education) from the state.”
Bean hopes that next year students can expect a smaller increase in tuition largely because of the likely passing of Senate Bill 242, which gives Oregon universities more liberty in their governing systems.
The bill, Bean said, “will help us to operate more efficiently because we won’t have to deal with the bureaucracy that comes with being a state agency.”
The decision to hold off on implementing the new fee on students for the EMU and Student Recreation Center was made last-minute yesterday evening after days of discussion, University Vice President Robin Holmes said.
After a meeting with ASUO President Ben Eckstein, the administration decided to get more student input on the fees through a formal referendum this fall, Holmes said.
“We’d been operating all year on the assumption that we had ASUO support,” Holmes said. But, after meeting with Eckstein, who urged administrators to reconsider getting further student input, the University decided to hold off on implementing the fee until after fall term.
“Our conversations with administration were positive and productive,” ASUO president Ben Eckstein said of his work with administration. “They further illustrated the value of broader campus conversations over the next year to ensure that students play a major role in visioning and directing the proposed projects.”
The University hoped it could get preapproval for the fees contingent upon the results of the referendum, Holmes said. But, the Board agreed there were legal issues that barred it from approving the proposal.
Stalling the fee will lose the project around $600,000 — $30 per student for fall term. Holmes is confident that the project will still move forward, however.
“I don’t anticipate this slowing us down,” Holmes said. “It’s okay to do the referendum and show we have student support and more forward with it.”