Last year's freeze on undergraduate tuition at Oklahoma Christian University might have helped draw revenue in other areas, and university officials said they hope a similar move this year will have the same effect.
For the second consecutive year, OC officials have decided against raising undergraduate tuition or housing costs, meaning the cost to attend the university next year will remain the same.
Tuition remains at $18,800 for students taking up to 17 credit hours per semester. Including average room and board costs, the total cost to attend the university is about $25,000 per year.
The university also will continue its policy of not charging academic fees. University officials opted last year to roll academic fees into the price of tuition.
OC President John deSteiguer said he thinks last year's tuition freeze might have been a factor in enrollment growth. Enrollment grew from 2,193 during the 2011-2012 academic year to 2,271 the following year — an increase of about 3.6 percent, and a new attendance record for the university.
The decision to hold tuition steady for another year is “more of an art than a science,” deSteiguer said. The university needs to increase revenue to offset rising costs in a number of areas, including utilities and health insurance. Damage from last spring's hailstorms also resulted in higher property insurance costs, he said.
Although the university didn't see any increased revenue from tuition increases, deSteiguer said revenue was up due to the enrollment hike and the tuition dollars that came along with it.
He wouldn't make any definite predictions about what the university's financial situation would be next year, but deSteiguer said he expects another year of strong enrollment. That opens up the possibility of a third year without a tuition increase, he said.
“We would love to be able to do that,” he said.
Aislyn Reaves, a former OC student, said she's watching the university's tuition freeze closely. Reaves attended the university for two years, then transferred to Collin College, a community college with campuses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The cost of attending OC was a major factor in her decision to leave, Reaves said. Reaves, 21, said she enjoyed her time at the university and would like to come back. If tuition remains more stable, she said, it might be easier to manage.
“It's definitely more of a possibility,” she said.