University of Oregon administrators plan to go to Salem on Thursday to persuade the state to reverse its decision to reject an increase in UO’s tuition by 10.6 percent. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) denied the increase on May 11. The university is anticipating the board to vote again on UO’s proposal to increase tuition by 10.6 percent for the 2017-18 year.
The HECC is in charge of funding Oregon state universities. Since 2013, Oregon law requires tuition increases higher than 5 percent must be approved by the commission. The Register-Guard reported that student involvement was a concern for HECC commissioners and voted against the UO proposal by five votes to four on May 11.
The decision came a month after Oregon Governor Kate Brown expressed concern about tuition costs. Brown ordered the HECC board to ensure that university administration consults with students, faculty and staff prior to deciding on the increase. She also inquired to assess the impact of minority students specifically.
On May 22, the university submitted a memo signed by UO President Michael Schill and Board of Trustees Chair Chuck Lillis that mentioned how the Tuition and Fees Advisory Board, which includes students, faculty and staff, held seven public meetings and published information online. The letter also mentioned that the university created a website, which was dedicated to sharing meeting times and tuition-related data.
The letter also described how its Pathway Oregon program covers full tuition and fees for Pell-eligible in-state students. It also mentioned programs, such as the Diversity Excellence Scholars program and advising from the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, available to low-income and first-generation minority students.