In a tough decision countered by passionate student testimony, the State Board of Higher Education approved tuition increases proposed by each of the state’s seven public institutions in a 9-2 vote on June 1 in Portland, including a 6.1 percent increase for the University.

The approved proposals will increase tuition at some schools by as much as 9.9 percent at Southern Oregon University to as little as 1.5 at Western Oregon University, to total a system average of six percent increase.

The University’s tuition rates were approved for the 6.1 percent increase for resident undergraduates in the 2012-13 academic year. The total increase, including tuition and fees, lands at $9,310, a $459 jump from last year. An increase of 3.6 percent for nonresident undergraduates was also approved, putting total tuition and fees at $28,598, a $945 increase.

In graduate tuition the increases range from two percent in the College of Arts and Sciences to 25 percent in the Lundquist College of Business. @@ means that University resident graduate students looking to gain an MBA in business will have to pay an extra $4,178 and nonresident graduates students will pay an extra $5,785.

In the proposal to the board, Vice President for Finance and Administration Jamie Moffitt@@check[email protected]@ wrote that the University attempts to keep tuition increases as low as possible despite a lack of state funding, and actions are being taken in order to help counteract the weight of the increases.

“As an institution, our undergraduate tuition strategy aligns with our overall strategy to promote institutional excellence, as well as accessibility to higher education for Oregonians,” Moffitt wrote. “As we have been forced to increase tuition, we have focused fundraising efforts to increase student scholarship support.”

Before the vote, the board heard testimony from students on tuition setting. Student leaders from across the state were given the chance to say a few words about how the board’s decision would affect them. ASOSU President Milikaleakona Hopoi @@[email protected]@was moved to tears as she begged the board to consider the full implications of a 6.9 percent increase at her institution.

ASUO President Laura Hinman@@[email protected]@ was unable to attend the board meeting but sent a personal statement with representatives on her behalf. She believes that new alternatives need to be found in order to reclaim affordability for students.

“We need to continue to lobby the state for more funding, but that can no longer be our only strategy. We as students need to be involved in conversation about other solutions that are available to lower tuition at our university,” Hinman said. “How can we better utilize the resources available to the UO to combat the continual decrease in funding from the state? That needs to be the new direction of the tuition conversation.”

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