Monday, July 18, 2005

Fall tuition hike to top 9 percent - 18 July 2005


Beginning in the fall, tuition for undergraduate resident of Oklahoma will increase 9 percent.

The increase for non-residents will be 9.4 percent for undergraduates and 9.6 percent for graduate students.

NSU officials attribute the need for increase to mandatory fee increases that the university is responsible for paying, such as health insurance, liability insurance and utilities.

However, there are plans in place to ensure that students do not bear the full brunt of the budget appropriations.

“The University is working to maintain costs and keep them as low as possible, unfortunately the cost of many services and supplies external to NSU continue to rise,” said Vice President for Administration Kim Cherry. “We try to find ways to absorb these costs and not pass them on to the students.”

Ginger McClendon, a Tahlequah freshman, was unaware of the increase until last week.

“That’s just more money they are going to take from you. I don’t understand. Why are they not fixing all these old buildings on campus?” asked McClendon.

The increases were approved July 1 by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Neal Weaver, vice president of university relations, said the overall budget used by NSU is less than in 2002.

“That hole in our budget is what we’re dealing with,” said Weaver. “We do our best to keep tuition increases to a minimum, but we have an obligation to high quality and to serve as many students who want to come [to NSU].”

Tulsa sophomore J.P. Baker is critical of the tuition increase.

“It’s just another way for them to take our money and we’ll never see it again,” said Baker. “They are using it for other things besides maintaining the morale of the student body. I think they are using it for political reasons.”

Officials blame the need for higher student-paid revenue to lower state-paid appropriations.

The state has given NSU a total of about $1.6 million dollars less than the fiscal year four years ago. With the lower state funding, NSU must look to other avenues for revenue, including private funding.

The NSU Foundation currently has a $10.8 million pool to draw from.

“Private funding, grants and contracts are becoming more valuable,” said Weaver.

NSU is also increasing benefits to students in light of the necessary tuition increases. The Regents Tuition Waiver fund will be increased by 19 percent this year and the student employee wages will rise from $5.15 to $5.60 per hour.

For a student enrolled in 15 credit hours, the 9 percent tuition increase will translate to about $135 more dollars per semester.

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