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Higher Ed Board approves new admission, enrollment, and tuition approaches to increase student participation in college and mana

Contact:
Di Saunders –Office: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869

PORTLAND, April 3, 2009 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) met today at Western Oregon University to review and hear reports on board committee structures, tuition policy, academic program policies, common admissions approaches, the work of the Student Participation and Completion Committee, and the challenges facing the system and implications of budget cuts, among other items discussed by the Board.

Budget Cuts
OUS chancellor George Pernsteiner said that the Legislative Fiscal Office has asked each state agency, including the OUS, to submit a 30% budget cut scenario. Pernsteiner noted that given the federal stimulus dollars that will come to the state, that a 30% cut is unlikely, but a significant cut at a lower level is likely. At the 30% cut scenario level, which would be about $285 million, the Chancellor asked the Board to approve the following cut options to provide to LFO: a reaffirmation of the policy decision that tuition increases for resident undergraduates that are higher than 3.6% per year will include a 30% set aside for need-based financial aid; priority will be given to programs related to instruction and support of students, and to research; that campus public services will be reduced by more than 30%; that funding for the OSU-Cascades campus will be reduced by more than 30%; to help insure financial sustainability of OUS’ smaller campuses, that their support be reduced by less than 30%, and that services and academic programs be limited to those needed in that region; and that salary costs shall be reduced by 4.6% for 2009-11. The Board approved these elements as those to be provided to the LFO as part of the 30% cut scenario.

Participation & Completion Committee
Board member Dr. Dalton Miller-Jones provided an update on the work of the Board’s Student Participation and Completion Committee, which he chairs. Miller-Jones summarized the Committee’s goal to develop strategies to improve student participation, retention and success in postsecondary education, especially for underserved students. While the $15.5 million policy option package developed by the Committee – which included funding to increase the capacity of pre-college academic preparation programs and in-college retention programs – was not funded in the Governor’s Recommended Budget due to the current economic situation, the Committee has identified strategies it can move forward with in the next 12-18 months that do not need immediate funding. Three priorities for 2009-10 work include: (1) supporting partnerships and collaboration with successful precollege academic preparation and retention programs targeting underserved students; (2) developing and advocating for best practices, alignment of current campus efforts toward underserved populations, and policy recommendations to the Board, campuses, and partner agencies; and (3) improving faculty effectiveness with underserved students’ retention and completion rates, and focusing on improving campus learning and the environment through professional development and collaboration. Miller-Jones also noted that several of the recently adopted Board policies on diversity are also directly related to Committee priorities. Plans for this year also include a fall symposium on best practices; a data summit; and development of task teams to complete the work, among other areas.

Tuition Policy
Board member Brian Fox summarized the guiding principles developed by the Tuition Policy Workgroup, made up of the Oregon Student Association and OUS staff. Principles include ensuring that no student is deterred from enrolling in college due to tuition costs; providing need-based aid when setting differential tuition for higher cost/higher potential salary programs so as not to impede degree choice; nonresident students should pay a larger share of instructional costs than resident students when the market allows; tuition pricing should be moderate and predictable so that quality is not compromised; and financial viability must be maintained and managed by balancing these principles, access, affordability, and quality along with tuition pricing. Fox said that when setting tuition rates, campuses and the board should consider the level of state funding, campus missions, academic quality and ability to complete a degree, accessibility, peer rates, program cost, the value of the degree, salaries in the field, program demand, and institutional capacity. The ultimate goal would be to strive for the state to provide at least 50% of the costs of an undergraduate education; that level is currently at about 39%. The board authorized the Chancellor’s Office to use the draft document to talk with the Legislature about considering these policies as they develop legislation related to tuition; and to have the OUS Administrative Council review the draft and make any further comments.

Program Policies
OUS vice chancellor for strategic programs and planning, Susan Weeks, provided an overview of proposed policies on undergraduate program demand and minimum class size which will be implemented to meet reduced budgets on the OUS campuses in the 2009-2011 biennium. Regarding undergraduate program demand, Weeks said that the Provosts’ Council will annually review the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded, and for those awarding fewer than 5 degrees, a report will be provided to the Board the outlines degrees and enrollment trends over the last 5 years; how the program is related to the campus’ mission, priorities, relationship to general education requirements; faculty resources needed to offer the program; potential changes to the program being considered; and other information to help the Board understand the low demand. Regarding undergraduate class size, Weeks said that no undergraduate lecture course enrolling fewer than 10 students will be scheduled unless there is a compelling educational reason, which will be determined by the institution president through their provost/chief academic officers. Some courses are excluded, such as certain seminars, thesis, laboratory sessions, independent studies, music performance and others where small class size is necessary for the learning process.

Common Admissions Process
OUS assistance vice chancellor for student success, Joe Holliday, updated the board on the work being done to develop a common admissions process among the seven OUS campuses. The impetus behind the new process is to manage enrollment from a system perspective rather than from each campus, in order to provide admission within the system to all eligible students. OUS campuses are working together to adapt their 2010-11 admission applications to enable campuses to share student information so that if a student is not able to be admitted to once institution, another within OUS can offer admission to that student, including financial aid as eligible, without no further admission fees charged to the student.

Committee Charters
OUS legal counsel and Board secretary, Ryan Hagemann, provided the provisional charters of the newly developed standing Board committees which will enfold all former committees. Academic Strategies Committee will include managing OUS as a portfolio of institutions and programs; educational attainment issues, student access and success policies, knowledge creation, economic development, and academic programs; review and approve OUS Research Council proposals; performance measurement reports; develop PK-20 work; and other special efforts. Finance & Administration Committee will develop and implement policies related to ongoing financial and administrative affairs of the OUS, including risk assessment, management reports, audits, budgets, investments, human resource  and labor issues, and related areas. Governance and Policy Committee will develop policy frameworks to govern initiatives, operations, and priorities of the Board, the Chancellor’s Office, and the OUS institutions; deal with administrative rules, evaluation and compensation of OUS presidents and chancellor, legislative proposals other than those related to budgets; presidential searches, board vacancies and leadership positions, campus visits, board evaluations, and other related areas. The Board approved the provisional committee charters.

OSU Extension
Scott Reed, vice provost of university outreach and engagement and director of Oregon State University extension service, provided a report on the work of the Extension Service, Agriculture Experiment Station, and the Forest Research Laboratory. Reed noted that Extension improves the quality of life for Oregonians, focusing on ensuring healthy people, planet, and the economy, and building connections between extension the AES, and the FRL. Reed noted that if Extension had to take a 30% budget cut ($14.1 million) they would lose a lot of the matching local funds they receive as well as federal grants; would lose 219 full time employees, 336 grants and contracts, almost 9,000 trained volunteers, 2.3 million engaged student learners, and would close 23 county offices or eliminate all campus-based faculty plus 9 county offices.

In other action and discussion at the meetings, the Board:

  • Adopted the OUS Identity Theft Prevention Program, effective May 1, 2009.
  • Approved changes to update IMD 6.140(2) relating to Endowment Fund Investments.
  • Approved a new academic program: Oregon Institute of Technology, M.S. in Civil Engineering, effective fall 2009.
  • Heard reports from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate; and the Oregon Student Association.

Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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