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Higher Ed Board approves average tuition & fees increase of 7.2%, hears important research report from Communities of Color

PORTLAND, June 3, 2011 – The State Board of Higher Education met today to, among other items, review tuition proposals, discuss budget allocation approaches, hear a report from the Coalition of Communities of Color, and review equity initiatives, among other items they considered.

Tuition & Fee Rates     Jan Lewis, OUS assistant vice chancellor for budget operations, presented the proposed tuition and fee increases for the academic year 2011-12. Board president Paul Kelly noted his thanks to the Oregon Student Association for their help in the tuition setting process and the collaboration they have provided throughout. Lewis said that tuition increases for resident undergraduates across the system average a 7.5% increase (at 15 credit hours) or an average of $6,237, and tuition and fees combined total a 7.2% increase or an average of $7,623 (see detailed chart below). Non-resident undergraduate tuition and fees (15 credit hours) increased an average of 5.4% or to $20,291; and graduate resident student tuition and fees (12 credit hours) increased 7.0% to $12,814.

PSU president Wim Wiewel and PSU former student body president, Katie Markey, talked about PSU’s tuition setting process, and their priority to deliver the quality education that students deserve and expect, weighed against the sources of revenue, including state funding. PSU and other campuses have an inclusive tuition setting committee, including students, faculty and staff, in order to come to a sound, informed and fair decision. PSU will be also making cuts across the campus and examine efficiencies to lower costs and manage limited resources. Markey described that students understand the need for tuition increases, and were included in the decision making process. Board member Jim Francesconi noted the need for higher levels of resources for higher education in order to be able to meet statewide goals and provide opportunity for all students. After some discussion, the Board approved the tuition rate increases.

Oregon University System Base Tuition and Fee Rates for 2011-12 Academic Year, Annual Rates for RESIDENT UNDERGRADUATE Students for 15 Credit Hours

  2011-12 Tuition 2010-11 Tuition

% increase over 2010-11

2011-12 Tuition & Fees[2] 2010-11 Tuition & Fees[2] % increase over                    2010-11
EOU $5,603 $5,244 6.8% $7,046 $6,639 6.1%
OIT $6,377 $5,850 9.0% $7,889 $7,260 8.7%
OSU $6,228 $5,760 8.1% $7,744 $7,115 8.8%
OSU-Cascades Campus (Bend) $5,904 $5,580 5.8% $6,459 $6,120 5.5%
PSU $6,156 $5,648 9.0% $7,764 $7,130 8.9%
SOU $5,625 $5,265 6.8% $7,215 $6,789 6.3%
UO $7,551 $6,930 9.0% $8,789 $8,190 7.3%
WOU[1] $6,450 $6,135 5.1% $8,076 $7,644 5.7%
SYSTEM AVERAGE (unweighted) $6,237 $5,802 7.5% $7,623 $7,111 7.2%
[1] WOU's Tuition Promise program guarantees that tuition rates for continuing students will not increase for 4 years.  This table compares the rates for the 2010-11 entering students to rates that would be assessed for student entering under the 2011-12 Western Promise program.
[2] Fees include those proposed by student organizations and/or approved by student referendums and external cost increases such as the health insurance premium component of the Heath Service fee.

Coalition of Communities of Color     Nichole Maher, executive director of Native American Youth and Family Center and member of the Coalition of Communities of Color, and Ann Curry-Stevens, a faculty researcher from Portland State University, presented information on a study which has documented socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism, and inequity of services experienced by families, children and communities of color in Oregon. Despite strong evidence of disparities, this never seems to be a policy priority. The study looked at employment, child welfare, poverty, the education spectrum, health and juvenile justice. In Multnomah County, communities of color are doing much worse than counterpart cities in other states, while whites are doing better than counterpart cities. These research results are a starting place for finding ways to address the disparities, which were shown in educational achievement, graduation rates, college-going rates, and other factors reviewed by the presenters.

Regarding recommendations, Maher and Curry-Stevens said: (1) recognize the depth and urgency of this problem; (2) achievements seen for white students must be provided for students of color as Oregon’s educational and economic progress depend on this; (3) polices must be created by the Board to move forward, and must be a priority, and that Board-level directives are required to move good intentions into concrete and durable achievements; and (4) address racial disparities using best practices that include clear directives and commitments at top leadership level, strong community partnerships, shared power and resources, and culturally-specific services for each community. Board members and presidents discussed the report findings and their agreement that there must be progress on improving support of and educational outcomes for students of color. Members agreed that this issue must be on all agendas of the Board and its committees and that OUS needs to look at our own faculty, staff and student diversity, as well as on the Board and Chancellor’s Office.

REDCO Site License     Bob Simonton, OUS assistant vice chancellor for Capital Programs, Capital & Facilities Planning, described an innovative solar project that will place solar panels and produce energy starting initially at three OUS campuses: Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, and Oregon State University. Simonton noted that in order to move forward with the project that the Board must authorize the execution of a site license to the Renewable Energy Development Corporation (REDCO) to use a portion of campus properties to install, maintain and operate these ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems. Each university involved will purchase electricity from the solar system under a separate power purchase agreement. Besides the benefits of reducing the carbon footprint of the campuses by using renewable energy, this project will allow campuses to move to clean energy without increasing energy costs, and in fact will reduce costs over the next 25 years. This project at nearly 5,000 kilowatts is the largest university-based contract for solar energy in the nation, and represents the largest solar system of this type in Oregon, also helping the state meet its goals for clean energy use and carbon neutrality. All materials used in this project will be manufactured in Oregon and installed by Oregon contractors. Phase I of the project will be completed by December 31, 2011, and will include fully constructed solar arrays at the 3 campuses. Phase II will include bringing solar generation systems to the other campuses in 2012. The Board approved the site license request.

In other action and discussion at today’s meetings, the Board and/or its Committees:

  • Discussed a proposed Finance and Administration Committee work plan for June 2011 to June 2012.
  • Discussed a proposed approach for the allocation of OUS’s 2011-2013 budget and the OUS 2011-12 Annual Operating Budgets.
  • Heard an overview of new purchasing and contracting policies and procedures related to Minority-owned, Women-owned, and Emerging Small Businesses (MWESB), which are improvements to current practices to reflect the Board’s goals to expand economic opportunities for Historically Underrepresented Businesses, by encouraging participation in OUS contracting and purchasing.
  • Discussed the OUS Action/Work Plan for Equity Initiatives, including priorities for 2011, previously approved by the Academic Strategies Committee of the Board.
  • Authorized Portland State University to enter into agreement with TriMet to perfect the transfer of interest in a board-owned real property and granting of construction easements to help facilitate the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail expansion and integration of light rail stations with the OHSU/OUS Life Sciences Collaborative Complex.
  • Approved Western Oregon University’s proposed preamble, mission statement, and core themes as presented.
  • Approved the adoption of the Second Amendment to the 2008 Restatement of the Oregon University System Optional Retirement Plan and forward to the full Board for approval.
  • Heard updates from Board committees including Academic Strategies, Finance and Administration, and Governance and Policy. Heard reports/statements from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate, and the Oregon Student Association.

The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu; and for today’s Board Docket materials go to: www.ous.edu/state_board/meeting/dockets