The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon approved a $9-per-credit-hour change in undergraduate tuition for in-state students and lifted tuition for non-resident students by $30 per credit hour.
“This tuition rate is below that of peer research institutions that receive much higher state funding per capita,” President Michael H. Schill said. “This increase is also below the 10-year average of tuition increases that we have experienced. I believe that the UO remains a remarkable value for students and families.”
The decision follows months of discussion with the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board, meetings with students, a formal public comment period and additional public comment at the meeting. Ultimately, the proposal increases tuition for undergraduate resident students by $405 per year and $1,350 per year for nonresident undergraduates. This equates to a 4.76 percent increase for in-state students and a 4.46 percent increase for out-of-state students.
Prior to the vote, trustees heard from students and some UO staff members who expressed concern about the impact of the tuition increase on low-income students. Many acknowledged the need for additional financial resources as they asked trustees to consider an alternative proposal with a lower tuition rate.
“It is clear that we have very passionate and committed students at the University of Oregon,” Schill said. “I am glad you that you care so deeply for this institution. I also care for the university, and am working in the best way I know how, given our resources and goals, to do what is right and best for this institution.”
Schill added, “I am committed to doing everything in my power to cushion the impact of this increase and likely future increases on our most economically vulnerable students through scholarships, student aid, increased advising, graduation grants and programs for on-time graduation.”
Jamie Moffitt, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer, and Brad Shelton, interim vice president for research and innovation, walked board members through the many cost drivers and areas requiring investment if the UO is to do what Schill referred to as “necessary for us to deliver an excellent student experience and education.”
Revenue generated from tuition will be used to fund essential investments, including an additional $1.4 million in financial aid, $2.75 million for information technology improvements, $2.5 million for faculty hiring, $2.2 million for medical costs, $400,000 for graduate student fellowships and $7.6 million for negotiated salary increases for faculty and staff.
In addition to the increase, an estimated additional $3 million in redirected funds, currently being identified by administrative divisions, would also be reinvested into these areas, including efforts to improve graduation rates. The university is targeting $17 million toward increasing four-year graduation rates 10 percent over the next five years.
“Evaluating tuition and fees is one of the most important things we do as a board, and all trustees are sensitive to the cost pressures facing current and future UO students,” said Chuck Lillis, chair of the board. “The financial reality of the upcoming academic year is not pleasant, but it is clear. Continually rising labor costs, unfunded mandates and the ongoing pursuit of excellence are not inexpensive, and they are not all met by the state’s relatively low investment in higher education.”
In other action, the board:
- Authorized the issuance of up to $60 million of general revenue bonds in order to take advantage of persisting, historically low interest rates.”
- Was presented with a strategic framework overview, as the university continues to develop its strategic plan.
- Received an update on the $2 billion campaign, which Michael Andreasen, vice president for university advancement, reported sits at $940 million as of the end of February.
- Heard an overview of the university’s ongoing information technology strategic planning process.
- Approved three new degree programs, including a master’s degree in sports product design and two bachelor degrees in arts management.
—By Tobin J. Klinger, University Communications