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University of Central Oklahoma students ask State Regents to consider affordability when making tuition decisions

by Silas Allen Modified: April 18, 2013 at 10:10 pm •  Published: April 19, 2013

The board holds hearings annually to give students, faculty members and others an opportunity to talk to regents about tuition and fees. The board will vote on any tuition changes colleges and universities propose later this year.

Colt Coldren, another UCO student, told the board he hopes to see state lawmakers come up with a budget that provides more funding for higher education. Coldren, a former Marine, attends UCO on the G.I. Bill. But other students who pay for their own education incur more debt when higher education funding is cut, he said.

Need for funding

But Steven Maier, chairman of Northwestern Oklahoma State University's faculty council, said he hopes to see regents approve modest tuition increases as a part of an effort to keep the quality of the state's institutions from slipping.

Budget cuts have led to more students per faculty member, fewer faculty hires and diminished quality of instruction, Maier said. Faculty members are teaching courses outside their areas of expertise, he said.

Having fewer faculty members means students take longer to complete their undergraduate degrees, he said.

Maier said he doesn't want to see the entire burden of funding education shifted onto students through tuition increases. But tuition increases will likely need to be part of the solution.

“It is unlikely that a single, straightforward solution will present itself,” he said.