The Norman Transcript

Opinion

June 29, 2014

Elected officials responsible for higher education price hike

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

On Monday, the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a proposal to increase costs on students by an average of 4.8 percent.

Resident undergraduates enrolled in 15 hours will see their tuition and fees increase by $268.50 per semester, while nonresidents will see an uptick of $561.

While I commend the Board of Regents and especially President David L. Boren for their efforts to mitigate the effects of our state funding shortfall, let’s be perfectly clear about who is responsible for this cost increase: our elected officials in Oklahoma state government.

The budget initially proposed by our governor would have cut funding for higher education by a devastating 5 percent.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of advocates like President Boren, this cut was reduced to zero in the final budget, so our funding level remained unchanged.

But because the Legislature neglected to cover the increase in our fixed costs, such as energy and health insurance, we were left with a shortfall. Students, then, are burdened with making up the difference through an increase in tuition and fees.

This fiscal punishment from our state officials is astoundingly illogical because the University of Oklahoma is one of the greatest economic engines in our state.

Every dollar invested into the University of Oklahoma creates an impact of $7.76 on area income.

For every job on the Norman campus, 2.13 jobs are created in surrounding economies.

Our research campus, home to dozens of productive partnerships between the public and private sectors, was named the nation’s 2013 Outstanding Research Park. Hundreds of statistics like these can be found in OU’s 2014 Community Impact Report.

It’s abundantly clear that the University of Oklahoma is a crown jewel of the Sooner State, helping to drive Oklahoma forward amidst a struggling global economy.

It is one of the best investments in our state funding portfolio. Yet politicians in Oklahoma City have once again decided to underfund OU and force cost increases on thousands of Oklahoma families.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014