Eastern Oregon University was one of the founding higher education partners in Eastern Promise. Its professors work with public school teachers to ensure high schoolers are doing college-level work in college credit courses.

Eastern Oregon University in La Grande announced plans to freeze undergraduate tuition in an effort to reassure students amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Rob Manning / OPB

Eastern Oregon University announced on Friday that it will not raise tuition for current undergraduate students in the coming school year, citing the ongoing pandemic as a main deciding factor.

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The La Grande institution is the first public university in the state to make a tuition announcement, though trustees and administrators have been discussing financial dilemmas for some time, since COVID-19 complicated university budgets. EOU President Tom Insko said in a statement, the university made this announcement early because it wanted to provide greater certainty to its students — nearly two-thirds of whom are low-income, are people of color, come from rural areas or are the first in their family to attend college.

“This is something we can do for our students hardest hit by the pandemic,” Insko said. “As Oregon’s Rural University, meeting students where they are is core to our mission and particularly this year, we need to do all we can to carry out that mission and make higher education as affordable as possible.”

Although most students who attend EOU starting in the fall won’t see a hike in tuition, there will be a slight increase for new out-of-state students who are attending EOU online.

“Oregon undergraduates will not see an increase in online tuition this year, but the new non-resident rate will increase from $265 to $305 per credit,” the university said. But, that change only applies to incoming online non-resident students. Returning online students from outside of Oregon will not see an increase.

Insko said that although tuition rates will stay the same for undergrads — minus new non-resident online students — he does acknowledge that campus fees are expected to increase. Those fees will be brought to the Board at its next meeting in May.

The board will also vote on graduate tuition rates when it reconvenes in May.

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