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Student leaders at Oklahoma universities hope to see tuition increases halted next year

Students at all of Oklahoma's public colleges and universities can expect to pay more in tuition and fees next year. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved tuition and mandatory fee increases Thursday.
by Silas Allen Modified: June 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm •  Published: June 21, 2012

Regents approved increases in college tuition and fees Thursday, ranging from about 3 percent to 8 percent, prompting criticism from some student leaders.

“I'm against it,” said Oklahoma State University Student Government Association President Flint Holbrook. “I think we can do a lot more with the money that we have before we take an increase.”

He said he plans to lobby administrators, regents and legislators to avoid a similar increase next year.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved the fall increases at every public college and university in the state.

The University of Central Oklahoma topped the list with a 7.9-percent increase for undergraduate tuition and fees, taking the total cost for 30 hours from $4,717.50 to $5,091.

The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University had the smallest percentage tuition increases. OU's tuition and fees will increase by 3 percent, while OSU's will rise by 2.8 percent.

Joe Sangirardi, president of University of Oklahoma Student Association, said he was frustrated that higher education isn't a greater priority when it comes time for the Oklahoma Legislature to pass a budget. The amount of money allocated to higher education is a direct reflection of the value the state places on it, he said.

He called the increases “unfortunate, but not unreasonable.”

Before the university's budget was finalized, OU officials met with the student government to discuss the possibility of tuition increases. Sangirardi said he left those meetings convinced that administrators had done a good job of cutting costs as much as possible. But trimming the budget only goes so far, he said.

“If you cut too much, it cuts into the mission of the university,” he said.

Earlier this year, higher education officials warned tuition increases were likely without adequate funding from the Legislature. The Legislature passed a $6.8 billion budget bill in the final hours of the 2012 legislative session last month.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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