The Norman Transcript

May 2, 2014

Budget could force OU to raise tuition

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — OU President David L. Boren is getting the word out about his continued frustration with state funding. The message to students and their parents is easy to find: Unless lawmakers find more money for higher education, students will pay higher tuition and fees next year.

Mr. Boren, in a public meeting and a full-page newspaper advertisement, said proposed cuts and fixed cost increases will cost OU $15.2 million in the next fiscal year. Tuition and fees at OU remain the lowest in the Big 12 for non-resident undergraduates and second only to West Virginia for resident tuition and fees.

A 1 percent tuition increase for OU students next year would generate about $1.5 million after additional relief is given to students with the greatest need. That means tuition would need to rise about 10 percent just to maintain the current level of expenses.

Tuition for most families went up this past year as OU changed to a flat-rate, 15-hour minimum.

A 1 percent, across-the-board, faculty-staff raise would cost OU an additional $2.7 million.

Mr. Boren has been making his case for years that Oklahoma has devalued public education by reducing its share of total budgets. His frustration seems to grow each year.

In 1977, Mr. Boren said, the state provided 46 percent of OU’s budget and students paid 13 percent. By 1995, the state paid 32 percent and students paid 16 percent.

The proposed budget, currently before the legislature, provides 15 percent of OU’s budget, while students and their families would pay 34 percent. The remainder is made up through research funding, private gifts and grants.

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