Portland State University became the latest of Oregon’s public universities Tuesday to raise tuition for the upcoming academic year.
The PSU Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition by about 2.5% for resident undergraduate students. Out-of-state undergraduate students, as well as resident and out-of-state graduate students, will all see smaller percentage increases, but it all evens out to every student group paying about $5 more per credit hour.
“We know our students are struggling,” PSU President Stephen Percy said during Tuesday’s board meeting. “We say this time and time again, and it continues to be true — higher education is not cost prohibitive.”
Percy said these increases are the lowest the university has had in the past five years.
“Setting up tuition is a balance between the fiscal health of the institution, and affordability and access for our students, and we tried very carefully to weigh that balance,” Percy said.
Percy and other university officials clarified that students who are in PSU’s Four Years Free program, and other programs that help to cover tuition, will not be affected by the increases.
The university is expecting to see fewer students in the coming school year. Officials anticipate a decline of anywhere from 5% to roughly 8% in full-time equivalent enrollment for the next academic year, according to data presented in the board meeting.
PSU Vice President of Finance and Administration Kevin Reynolds said even with the tuition increases, the university could expect to spend about $17 million in reserve dollars to build a full budget for the upcoming academic year, though Reynolds said it will likely be less than that.
“This assumes that people spend all of their budget,” Reynolds said. “We have yet to see that, so I don’t actually believe as the year progresses next year, that that will be the level of reserve expenditure.”
The university is anticipating reducing its budget by $13 million, though that decision will not be made officially until June.