A group of students from the University of Central Oklahoma on Thursday asked the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education to keep affordability in mind when setting tuition rates.
But a faculty member from Northwestern Oklahoma State University asked the board to consider “responsible” tuition increases to allow the state's colleges and universities to maintain their educational quality.
UCO student Scott Chance said he's concerned about the long-term impact on the state if tuition increases continue.
“We really need to keep tuition increases low,” he said.
Chance, governor of the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Legislature, spoke at a public hearing on tuition and fees at the state regents meeting.
Chance told the board students recognize that the state's higher education system is generally more affordable than its counterparts in other states. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks the system No. 7 in the nation in affordability.
But the rising cost of tuition places greater pressure on lower- and middle-income students, he said. Chance said increases also affect international students, who typically aren't eligible for financial aid.
UCO saw the largest cost increase last year, with a 7.9 percent increase for undergraduate tuition and fees. That increase took the total cost for 30 hours from $4,717 to $5,091.
The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University had the smallest percentage tuition increases. OU's tuition and fees increased by 3 percent, while OSU's rose by 2.8 percent.