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Higher Ed Board approves '07-08 tuition, hears EOU strategic report, appoints PSU Interim President

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

PORTLAND, June 8, 2007 – The State Board of Higher Education (the "Board") met today at the Oregon Institute of Technology Metro Campus in Portland to review and approve 2007-08 tuition rates, hear about Eastern Oregon University's (EOU) mission, programs, and plans; and named an interim president at Portland State University, among other items considered by the Board.

PSU Interim President Appointment The Board unanimously approved Dr. Michael Reardon as the interim president of PSU, to serve throughout the presidential search process for a new president of the university, replacing Daniel Bernstine who has accepted the position as president at the Law School Admission Council. Dr. Reardon is PSU Professor Emeritus in History & Humanities and University Honors - Academic Affairs, and has served in the past as PSU Provost, and in other leadership positions at PSU since the 1960s. The Chancellor and the Board felt it was important to facilitate the important work of the current leadership team at PSU and not disrupt their assignments which are critical to the universities, and thus did not choose an interim president from among the current leadership team.

Tuition & Fee Review Glen Nelson, assistant vice chancellor for budget operations, presented the proposed tuition and fee increases for academic year 2007-08. Undergraduate tuition and resource fees, averaged across all campuses and all credit loads will not increase by more than 3.3% for the Oregon University System in 2007-08. This average excludes Western Oregon University which is instituting the pilot Tuition Promise Program, which guarantees a $105 per credit hour rate for new students for four years, and sets a rate of $96 per credit hour for continuing students. Even with this initial increase to implement the Tuition Promise, WOU's tuition remains among the two lowest cost universities within the OUS. Overall, OUS tuition increases will vary by student depending on carrying load, with some experiencing a less than 3.3% increase with others experiencing a greater increase; the OUS increase in tuition including "The Promise" at WOU is 4.35%.

The Board of Higher Education and Governor Kulongoski proposed as part of the OUS budget that tuition increases not exceed increases in median family income for Oregon residents, which was pegged at a conservative rate of 3.4% when this was proposed during initial budget development. This is an effort, along with increases and policy changes in the Oregon Opportunity Grant program, to make college affordable for all Oregonians. Chancellor Pernsteiner noted that the Shared Responsibility Model of the OOG is beginning to get national attention, although it has not yet been passed by the Legislature, as a model for improving student access and affordability. After discussion about tuition and fee increases and the impacts on students, the Board unanimously approved the proposed tuition and fee rates for 2007-08, noting that more discussion must continue on increases in certain fee areas and on tuition structures.

Oregon University System Tuition and Fee Rates for 2007-08 Academic Year
Annual Rate for 15 credit hours; overall average tuition increase including all credit hours and all campuses is 3.3%*
  2007-08 Tuition % increase
over 2006-07
2007-08 Tuition
and Fees
% increase over
EOU $4,653 3.4% $6,072 4.0%
OIT $4,725 2.9% $6,093 2.9%
OSU $4,464 3.3% $5,910 4.7%
PSU $4,314 9.8% $5,766 10.7%
SOU $3,960 3.4% $5,502 5.2%
UO $4,626 3.4% $6,168 3.3%
WOU Continuing Rates $4,320 18.5% $5,577 15.8%
WOU* Tuition Promise Rates (new students) $4,725 29.6% $5,982 24.1%
SYSTEM AVERAGE (weighted) with WOU $4,461 5.3% $5,902 5.9%
SYSTEM AVERAGE (weighted) without WOU $4,478 4.0% $5,940 4.9%
*WOU is implementing a pilot guaranteed tuition program in fall 2007, which will have an initial larger than average increase for students, but which will then be frozen for a period of 4 years for the freshman class; not included in 3.3% average system increase.

EOU Strategic Plan Khosrow Fatemi, president of Eastern Oregon University, presented the university's "portfolio" of assets, successes, and challenges, the 5th of 7 OUS institutional reviews being completed this year. Fatemi noted that EOU serves 3,425 students, with almost 70% from eastern Oregon and other parts of the state. In 2006-07 EOU provided 118 valedictorian scholarship awards. EOU has a 93.2% alumni satisfaction rating, and 35% of the students remain in the region following graduation.

Fatemi noted that distance education is a major strength at EOU and at their regional centers, with these students being generally older and spread across the state. EOU has 2+2 programs and 9 partnership agreements with community colleges. They also have collaborative programs with other OUS and OHSU institutions in areas such as agriculture and healthcare. EOU was the model for nursing partnerships with OHSU which has been replicated at other OUS institutions, noted Lesley Hallick, provost of OHSU. EOU is an outstanding partner with OIT in the Dental Hygiene program, noted acting OIT president David Woodall. EOU is leading an effort to create a federal fund for rural universities. They started a regional MBA program 3 years ago, and first cohort has already graduated. The campus has worked to diversify their funding over the last few years, and has seen significant increases in donor pledges, reaching almost $4 million in 2006-07.

As an academic center in eastern Oregon, EOU has a rural outreach mission, with efforts including the Rural Oregon Institute, the Eastern Oregon Rural Alliance and the Small Business Development Center. The Cornerstones of Learning at EOU include student engagement in the community, in research, in internships, practicum and mentoring, and in international and intercultural experiences, including students working at children and adult shelters, and the Girls in Science program. Examples of program excellence include students presenting their research work, their involvement in the Native American Adolescent Mentoring Program, the MBA community component, and various summer internships. Recent adoption of a strategic plan includes campus-wide involvement, shared governance, enrollment management and integrated marketing.

Fatemi said that EOU has made a number of long term investments that will bring returns over time. These include upgrades of distance delivery, introduction of the first year experience to help improve retention rates; increasing faculty salaries by 11% over this biennium, although faculty and staff are still below averages; aggressively pursing grants and contracts; and the hiring of a director of diversity, among other efforts. EOU's budget proposal for a rural outreach initiative, which was included in the OUS and the Governor's Recommended Budget, will have a positive impact on attainment rates in Oregon, and will hopefully be included as part of the legislatively approved budget. A continuing challenge for EOU is in enrollment management. While EOU has an almost 6% enrollment increase in 2005 it dropped in 2006 and has seen fluctuations over the years. Fatemi noted that EOU is developing a long term plan to stabilize enrollment fluctuations and will bring in an external consultant to provide expertise. The three ways EOU can increase enrollment is by increasing the number of high school graduates, improving the retention rate, and by recruiting outside the region. Fatemi said that EOU will present a 3 year financial and budget plan at the July meeting; the plan will align the budget with the strategic plan, and will address improving long term institutional sustainability. Adoption of the strategic plan and support from the campus will help align budget priorities. Besides enrollment and fiscal issues, EOU's challenges include an antiquated library and other capital repair issues.

Board members commented that EOU will have to differentiate itself in terms of positioning the institution with programs and other offerings in order to secure enrollment and to thrive and move forward. The caliber of EOU students and faculty is very impressive, and they are very dedicated to the region and the state. Members stressed that any plans on the campuses must include external and community involvement as EOU and other OUS institutions are a critical part of the regions' success in which they are located.

Student Inclusion Yvette Webber-Davis, OUS director of educational policy and inclusion, presented a snapshot review of inclusion and diversity issues with the System. She noted that the Board and OUS representatives have worked to provide affordable access to high-quality postsecondary education for all Oregonians, while encouraging broadly diverse students to seek these opportunities. Issues and trends which affect participation of Oregonians in higher education are rural isolation, generational poverty, and high school dropout rates. The combination of low income and low parental college degree attainment present many challenges to students in Oregon to be prepared and be able to enter into postsecondary education. Webber-Davis noted that the growth in Oregon's Hispanic/Latino students enrolled in public K-12 schools, up from 5% in 1990 to 15% in 2005, is a population which needs more support to prepare for, enter and graduate from college. The workplace has evolved and OUS students need to be prepared to be successful in diverse environments and within the global economy. Students today experience a more diverse and different classroom and workplace than did older generations. Within OUS there are 14% students of color, almost 72% Caucasian students, about 8% who do not indicate their race/ethnicity, and almost 5% international students. About 3.2% of OUS students also self report a disability. Regarding gender, almost 54% of students are female, with 46% male. Regarding age, 75% of OUS students are between the ages of 18-24.There are 9.3% faculty and staff of color, with 54% female and 46% male.

Webber-Davis noted that OUS has to pay attention to student pipeline issues, in terms of ensuring that students complete high school and are prepared for postsecondary education. She noted that this crosses all income, race/ethnicity, and rural/urban lines. To increase the number and diversity of students in postsecondary education in Oregon, the state must focus on improving college readiness, outreach to students to spur aspirations and access, and identifying and utilizing best practices in increasing student participation. Recent OUS efforts in this regard include work in Pre-K through 20 educational alignment; initiatives which help students move easily through the educational sectors; strengthening the K-12 educational pipeline; connecting with communities and engaging them in increasing educational attainment; and enhancing campus environments so that they are inclusive of all of their student populations.

Board members noted that OUS should consider including goals to increase campus diversity within university president performance goals; and that higher education in Oregon must get more serious about increasing diversity on our campuses.

In other action and discussion at the meetings, the Board and/or Committees:

  • Heard an update on the PSU Presidential Search process.
  • Approved David Woodall, provost of OIT, as the acting president during President Martha Anne Dow's medical leave until she returns later this year.
  • Approved new academic programs: OIT, A.A.S. and/or Undergraduate Certificate in Polysomnographic Technology, effective in fall 2007; Oregon State University, B.S. in Ecological Engineering, effective in fall 2007; and Oregon Health & Science University, Professional Master's Degree in Clinical Dietetics, effective summer 2007.
  • Approved OSU's request to purchase the Curtis White property in Corvallis for $272,000, plus closing costs.
  • Approved the University of Oregon's request to name the Integrated Science Complex after Lorry I. Lokey; and to name the Alumni Center after Cheryl and Allyn Ford.
  • Approved a policy on emeritus status for OUS presidents, and adopted a resolution honoring Daniel O. Bernstine, outgoing president of PSU.
  • Heard about the signing of a lease with Beaverton Public Schools for 20,000 square feet of space at the OUS Capital Center for a Medical Magnet School and Science Academy that will support students' high school preparation for careers in healthcare and science fields.
  • Heard an update on the OUS 401(a) and 403(b) retirement plans redesign.
  • Heard an update from the Strategic Initiatives Committee.
  • Heard reports from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate and the Oregon Student Association.
  • In other special Board meetings on May 15 and May 23, 2007 the following items were approved:
    • the Board rescinded Oregon University System Internal Management Directive 1.141, and adopted the IMD "Selection of an Interim or Acting President"; and
    • Approved the lease between Portland State University and Pacific Coast Restaurants.

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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