Why is there a recommendation to increase tuition in 2017-2018?

Each year, Oregon State faces cost increases, which range from faculty salaries to health insurance and energy costs. The Oregon Legislature has not yet approved the 2017-18 budget, but early proposals call for flat funding for OSU and the state’s six other public universities. So state funding will most likely not cover those cost increases, putting additional pressure on tuition. Tuition represents approximately 70 percent of OSU’s academic budget. About 20 percent comes from the state, and other revenues make up the balance 

What are the cost increases that contribute to increased tuition in 2017-2018?

Inflationary cost increases (staff and faculty raises, health insurance, utilities) contribute to approximately 41 percent of the tuition increase. This also includes allocations for additional financial aid. Costs for additional faculty and staff to accommodate enrollment growth are about 19 percent of the total. Other expenses center on critical strategic initiatives, including student success (to increase the graduation rate for all students); the repair of major building systems; investments in academic colleges; additional personnel to increase scholarship funds; and support for athletics and student-athletes.

How much of these cost increases is covered by tuition increases?

The increase in tuition rates will cover about 20 percent of the university’s total cost increases.  Increased revenue from new enrollment and other funds will cover 30 percent. The balance will come from redirecting the university’s budget; reduction in planned expenses; and the use of savings.

What does tuition pay for?

About 77 percent of tuition supports salary and benefits for Oregon State faculty, staff, graduate assistants and student workers. The balance covers supplies, equipment, classroom materials, utilities, insurance and other non-personnel costs.

What is the process for establishing tuition rates?

The University Budget Committee, including student representatives, has worked for several months to develop recommendations for tuition rates for 2017-2018. In addition, the University Budget Committee was advised by a Student Budget Advisory Council this year.

The Budget Committee includes representatives from the Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) and the Associated Students of Cascades Campus (ASCC). Proposals are completed early each winter term and approved by the provost and president so student input can be included before the March meeting of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Many factors, including comparative analysis of peer universities’ tuition rates are considered. When analyzing undergraduate tuition rates at peer institutions such as Washington State University, Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin, OSU compares favorably. Compared to institutions in the Pac-12 conference, Oregon State has the second lowest resident undergraduate tuition rate and the fourth lowest non-resident rate.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for reviewing and approving proposed changes in tuition rates. This is done in mid-March so tuition rates for the next year can be communicated well in advance to students and families for their financial planning. Additionally, the OSU Office of Financial Aid uses this information to develop aid packages for students for the next academic year.

Why is the proposed tuition increase percentage more for resident Oregon students than for out-of-state students?

Oregon State has a goal of setting tuition rates for both resident and non-resident students below the median tuition rates of OSU’s peer universities. This fall, while rates for resident students were below that median, rates for non-resident students were just at that median. Meanwhile, non-resident students attending OSU pay triple the cost of tuition as do resident students, whose tuition is partially paid for by the state of Oregon. While that rate reflects the actual costs of education, it is also a barrier for students choosing to attend or remain at OSU.

Maintaining enrollment of non-resident students, which includes international students, is important to providing for a mix of students that contributes to the student experience at OSU and the university’s budget.

Will student fees increase?

The Student Incidental Fee Committee (SIFC), which is composed entirely of students, recommended an increase of 4.29 percent in total fees for next year, which include incidental and health fees. . The proposal has been approved by ASOSU and will be sent to President Ray and then to the OSU Board of Trustees for final approval.

How will the university help students who require financial support?

Each year, Oregon State provides over $90 million in grants and scholarships (of which $35 million is direct institutional aid from OSU). Financial aid managed by OSU includes federal aid like Pell Grants, scholarships from the OSU Foundation, and financial aid funded directly by the university. The university also manages over $173 million in loan funds for undergraduate and graduate students.

The university recognizes that even the smallest increase in tuition can create challenges for individual students to remain at OSU. At least $3 million of additional funds will be allocated to additional financial aid in the coming year.

The total scholarship support available from the OSU Foundation will also increase this coming academic year as new scholarships are funded.

How can students give input on 2017-2018 tuition recommendations?

ASOSU and the MU will host a forum in the MU Main Lounge from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, to seek student input on the university’s budget and proposed tuition rates.

Comments, questions or concerns on the budget or tuition can also be shared in an online form at the Finance and Administration tuition website.

After review of this input, a final proposal for 2017-2018 rates will be sent to President Ray for his recommendation to the OSU Board of Trustees. The Board is expected to consider the tuition recommendation at its March 17 meeting.