All but two of Oklahoma’s 25 public colleges and universities are seeking an increase in tuition and mandatory fees — averaging 5.8 percent systemwide — for the coming academic year.
College presidents presented their fiscal year 2015 budgets and tuition requests Wednesday to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The Regents are expected to approve the requests when they meet again Thursday morning.
Oklahoma State University and Western Oklahoma State College in Altus will not increase tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates this year.
The University of Oklahoma requested an increase of 4.8 percent.
“The 4.8 percent would be solely allocated to the payment of our fixed cost that were not covered in the state budget,” OU President David Boren said.
Boren said the costs of things like utility bills, health insurance, building maintenance and faculty promotions have increased about $8 million.
“We can’t not pay our utility bills,” he said.
Matt Epting, president of the OU Student Government Association, said the immediate response from students is frustration.
“I don’t think I can understate the burdens that so many students carry just to be able to afford an education. We have students literally working 40 hours or more per week while taking a full load of classes. We’re weary of cost increases that outpace inflation,” Epting said.
“Overall, students just want the chance to work hard and earn a degree without saddling themselves with debt,” he said.
Boren said student debt is a growing problem and a concern as state funding decreases.
“When we raise tuition and fees, we are always very careful to give additional fee waivers,” Boren said. “We increased our tuition waivers almost $2 million to shield from the tuition increases those least able to pay.”
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At a glance
Twenty-three of Oklahoma’s 25 public colleges and universities are seeking an increase in tuition and mandatory fees.
Cameron University 5.64%
Carl Albert State College 6.9%
Connors State College 8.1%
East Central University 6.9%
Eastern Oklahoma State College 6.75%
Langston University 2%
Murray State College 7.5%
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College 6.9%
Northeastern State University 5.9%
Northern Oklahoma College 6.9%
Northwestern Oklahoma State University 6.9%
Oklahoma City Community College 4.85%
Oklahoma Panhandle State University 6.5%
Oklahoma State University 0%
Redlands Community College 5.9%
Rogers State University 7%
Rose State College 4.3%
Seminole State College 6%
Southeastern Oklahoma State University 7%
Southwestern Oklahoma State University 6.9%
Tulsa Community College 7.84%
University of Central Oklahoma 6.8%
University of Oklahoma 4.8%
University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma 8.3%
Western Oklahoma State College 0%