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Higher Ed Board approves 2009-10 budget allocations for campuses

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

Transfer of $3.4 million from big campuses to smalls in original proposal now to come from reserve funds

PORTLAND, October 2, 2009 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) and some of its committees (Academic Strategies and Finance and Administration) met yesterday and today at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls to review both the biennial budget for 2009-2011, the annual 2009-10 allocation for the OUS institutions, and to review retention issues in the system, among other items discussed by the Board.

Budget Allocation    
Jay Kenton, OUS vice chancellor for Finance and Administration, presented the proposed allocation approach for the 2009-10 OUS Annual Operating budget. He noted that the allocations have been made in accordance with Legislative directives, Board policies and priorities, and additional guiding principles such as: maintaining student access and success; creating incentives to improve retention and graduation rates; working to more evenly distribute enrollment across the System; using the Resource Allocation Model to equitably distribute state support across the campuses and ensure institutions’ financial integrity; acknowledging each campus’ unique financial situation; funding for incentives and enrollment settle-up; and maintaining a reserve to offset any additional budget cuts in 2009-2011. Kenton said that funding allocations also have a relationship to each campus’ enrollment, and the projections estimate overall FTE (full time equivalent) enrollment to increase 2.7% to 77,982 FTE in 2009-10 over 2008-09. Kenton noted that a change was made from the proposed September 2009 allocation by the Finance & Administration Committee, with the reserve fund decreasing from $20 million to $16.6 million in order that the originally proposed movement of $3.4 million from the large universities to the smaller universities now be taken out of reserves. He said that tuition revenue is another large source of resources for universities, and noted that the “small” universities’ tuition was capped at a 5% average, and the “big” universities capped at an 8% average across the system.

Overall, the OUS 2009-2011 operating budget is 17.3% lower than it was in 2007-2009, excluding federal stimulus funding; if including federal stimulus funding, the operating budget is 8.9% lower than in the previous biennia (2007-2009 budget represents funding prior to legislatively-approved reductions). The 2009-10 allocation is about 50% of the biennial budget in most cases. Campus one-year operating budgets for 2009-2010 are as follows (includes total General Fund and federal stimulus funding): Eastern Oregon University = $16.5 million; Oregon Institute of Technology = $18.8 million; Oregon State University = $91.8 million; OSU-Cascades Campus = $4.5 million; Portland State University = $67.3 million; Southern Oregon University = $16.7 million; University of Oregon = $64.0 million; Western Oregon University = $18.2 million; and the Office of the Chancellor = $6.5 million. The OSU Statewide Public Service program allocations for 2009-10 are: Agricultural Experiment Station = $29 million; Extension Service = $21.2 million; and the Forest Research Laboratory = $3.2 million. (For more details on budget allocations by category go to: /sites/default/files/state_board/meeting/dockets/ddoc091002.pdf)

After some discussion, the Board approved the proposed 2009-2011 guiding principles and process used to determine the budget allocation, and the proposed initial 2009-10 OUS Annual Operating Budget. The Board will review the 2010-11 budget allocations next year and determine that budget based on any changes to the biennial budget.

OUS vice chancellor for strategic programs and planning, Susan Weeks, and assistant vice chancellor for student success initiatives, Joe Holliday, introduced a discussion on retention rates and programs at OUS campuses. Weeks said that improved retention rates are critical to achieving the 40-40-20 goals of the state (40% of Oregonians with a bachelor’s degree or higher; 40% with an associate’s degree or certificate, and 20% with a high school diploma). She noted that the retention focus of the Board’s Academic Strategies Committee is to look at ways to fill gaps that OUS has now in retention within student populations and at institutions. Weeks said that OUS has a diverse array of institutions so the purpose of looking at retention rates should not be to compare one to the other, but to look at each institution in context of its own history and against their peers nationally.

Holliday said that OUS has about an 80% average first-year retention rate for first time full time freshman, compared to 72% nationally. The more access OUS provides to all students, the lower the retention rates tend to be since public higher education admits a diverse group of students, some of whom are under-prepared for college or face challenging affordability issues that affect retention. The average time to degree for students entering as first-time full-time freshmen is 4.6 years, and this rate is improving. About 78% of community college transfer students graduate from an OUS institution within 4 years; their average time to degree once they enter OUS is 2.6 years. Holliday noted three types of retention programs that have shown success in meeting OUS’s challenges: first year experience; early warning systems/programs for at-risk students; and peer advising. Retention challenges include identifying what strategies are working; determining why students stop out or drop out; and addressing affordability issues which affect retention rates, among others.

The Board and OUS presidents discussed retention, with issues raised including: the need for greater funding to support student services which improves retention rates; need to fully fund the Oregon Opportunity Grant as affordability affects retention; need to work with faculty to assist in student retention by meeting students’ unique needs; the use of adjuncts which may mean that students have less time to meet with regular faculty; the need to develop relationships with K-12 schools which provide programming and services that help students understand their college going options and prepare them academically; whether incentives are needed to improve retention rates; what the right measures or indicators should be in order to track retention rates and student success and if these should move beyond the first year retention rate and 6-year graduation rate; how important high expectations are for students in order to increase retention rates; and the need for the Board to prioritize its goals for campuses, including which student populations are the most critical to serve first given demographic and attainment issues in Oregon. An additional discussion on retention priorities will occur at the OUS retention symposium on November 19th at PSU.

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

  • Heard an update on the GO OREGON stimulus projects within the OUS, which received $87 million for OUS projects in capital repair, deferred maintenance, and new construction, and created or sustained more than 1,500 jobs in Oregon.
  • Approved the use of $8 million in Article XI-F(1) bonds by PSU to acquire land to facilitate development of a mixed-use facility incorporating student housing, academic classroom, retail, and related support space; and approved the long-term ground lease to American Campus Communities.
  • Approved the UO’s request to authorize the Chancellor, or designee, to seek legislative approval to increase the expenditure limitation for an increase in the Article XI-F(1) limitation in order to construct a 400-450 bed student residence hall that will also contain other offices and classrooms.
  • Accepted the OUS Quarterly Audit Progress Report.
  • Reviewed and discussed the analysis of the OUS institutions’ financial statements.
  • Received an update on the progress toward implementing new treasury management strategies, including an overview of related fiscal policies such as cash management.
  • Approved the following new academic program at Oregon Health & Science University: Master of Science in Neuroscience, effective fall 2009.
  • Discussed institutions’ missions and the OUS “portfolio” concept.
  • Adopted Oregon Administrative Rule 580-021-0027, Participation in a Voluntary FTE Program, as permanent.
  • Adopted Oregon Administrative Rule 580-023-0106 through 0151, Criminal Records Checks, as permanent; and rescinded the current administrative rules in Chapter 580, Division 23.
  • Discussed the Tuition Policy Guiding Principles.
  • Introduced the new member of the Board of Higher Education, Allyn C. Ford, president and CEO of Roseburg Forest Products.
  • Heard reports from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate; the Oregon Student Association; the OUS Research Council; and Committees of the Board including Academic Strategies, Finance and Administration; and Governance.


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

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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