Regents approve tuition increase

By Jeff Harrison

The State Regents approved a 12.9 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees at Rose State College for 2016-17. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)

The State Regents approved a 12.9 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees at Rose State College for 2016-17. (Staff photo by Jeff Harrison)

Managing Editor

Students at Rose State College can expect to pay more for classes next fall.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a 12.9 percent increase for tuition and mandatory fees at Rose State College last week.

The school’s tuition will increase by 10 percent or $9.15 per credit hour. Mandatory fees will raise 2.9 percent or $5.40 per credit hour. Rose State is increasing the student ID fee, special assessment fee, and student facility fee. The fees have not been increases in more than two decades. Rose State is also adding a new security fee of $3 per credit hour.

The State Regents approved increases for 25 of the state’s public colleges and universities Thursday during their monthly meeting on June 30. Tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students will increase an average of 8.4 percent statewide for the 2016-17 academic year.

The increases will help offset cuts in state revenue. The state’s higher education system lost $153.4 million of 15.92 percent from the fiscal year 2016 appropriation.  Rose State has received about $3.2 million less in base appropriations compared to 2015-16.

“The State Regents work tirelessly to keep higher education affordable for our citizens,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson in a press release. “In an extremely difficult budget environment, this moderate increase in tuition and mandatory fees will assist our higher education institutions in meeting their mandatory costs while they continue providing outstanding academic programs and services to our students, preparing them to compete in today’s competitive global economy.”

Rose State received the highest percentage increase in the state, and was one of three schools with a double-digit jump. Despite the increase, Rose State is still among the most affordable colleges in the state. The college ranks sixth in the state with a cost of $3,827 for an in-state student taking 30 credit hours. State colleges with lower tuition and fees included: Carl Albert State ($3,403.50), Northern Oklahoma College ($3,469.50), Western Oklahoma State College ($3,711), Oklahoma City Community College ($3,726.11) and Tulsa Community College ($3,802.60) had lower tuition and mandatory fees.

Despite the budget challenges, Jeanie Webb, Rose State president, said they are committed to providing a high level education at an affordable price.

“Rose State College has always maintained a high quality education, and as the fourth least expensive institution in Oklahoma, we are the only urban community college that offers the full collegiate experience including on-campus housing and athletics,” said Webb before the State Regents meeting. “Unfortunately, we are facing an extraordinary financial situation that is forcing Rose State to cut programs and release staff. We have worked tirelessly to manage this budget situation and keep personnel. Despite the negative impact of the budget reductions, we will continue to have a positive outlook and work hard to better serve our students and community.”

The state’s research universities, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and Tulsa, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman, increased their in-state tuition and mandatory fee rates by 7 percent.
State law requires tuition to remain at levels below the average among comparable institutions, and Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities continue to keep tuition well within those limits.

“Even with the personnel cuts and cost-saving measures the institutions have implemented, it would not be possible to maintain essential student support services without also generating additional income through tuition and fees,” said Northern Oklahoma College President Cheryl Evans, who serves as chair of the Council of Presidents, in a statement. “For many campuses, projected revenue from tuition increases only replaces about one-third of the state funding cuts from operational budgets. We understand the financial sacrifice students make to seek a higher education, and raising the cost of tuition is not a decision the colleges and universities take lightly.”

The law also requires the State Regents to make a reasonable effort to increase financial aid across the state system proportionate to any increase in tuition. Tuition waivers and scholarships provided by state institutions will increase 10.4 percent from FY 2016.

In addition, the State Regents administer Oklahoma’s Promise, a state scholarship program that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn a college tuition scholarship. An estimated 18,000 students will receive Oklahoma’s Promise scholarships this fall. More than $31.4 million of the money appropriated by the Legislature for FY 2017 will fund additional financial aid programs.

State law requires tuition to remain at levels below the average among comparable institutions, and Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities continue to keep tuition well within those limits.

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