The Tuition and Fees Advisory Board will be busy winter term as it drafts its tuition and fee rate proposals for the next academic year. The 18-member body will meet at least five times in January to discuss the financial situation the University of Oregon will face next year, according to the board’s website.
Once its discussion is complete, the board will recommend new tuition and fee rates to UO President Michael Schill who will then adjust the recommendations if necessary before sending them to the university board of trustees for final approval.
The TFAB will host a student forum on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. in the EMU’s Redwood Auditorium. Students are invited to learn and speak about the tuition process. Outside of the forum, all TFAB meetings are open to the public.
A number of university leaders, including Schill, UO Chief Financial Officer Jamie Moffitt and ASUO President Maria Gallegos-Chacon, have shared their hopes to keep any increases in tuition under 5 percent. Any increase over 5 percent would have to be approved by the state, which could leave university finances in a bind if not approved.
For an in-state student taking 15 credits, a 5 percent increase would mean about $158 more per term. An out-of-state student taking the same number of credits would pay about $542 more every term.
The plan, according to the TFAB’s calendar, is to propose out-of-state student tuition to the board of trustees in March and in-state student tuition in May.
Schill said that out-of-state tuition comes first because it is “capped at the market rate,” meaning that the UO must keep out-of-state tuition low enough to ensure students continue to apply. In-state tuition, because it is much lower, is more flexible and can be adjusted to make up for gaps in the university’s budget, so the TFAB plans to wait for the state’s budget to be finalized.
The state budget is the biggest unknown at this point and is complicated by the fact that, at this stage, it’s two different proposals, which would leave the university in very different financial positions.
It won’t be known which proposal will succeed until May or later, according to Moffitt, so it’s possible that the board of trustees will need to meet again in the summer to change the tuition rates they approve this spring.
In the case that the state sends the university the money it asks for, things will still be tough for budget administrators.
“Even if the best result comes about, which is the [larger of the two budget proposals] and a tuition increase under 5 percent, we would still have a challenging budget for next year,” Schill told the board of trustees in December.