Both Oregon State University and Oregon Institute of Technology have approved tuition increases for the next school year.

Oregon State University’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved varying tuition increases for different groups of students. OSU uses a cohort tuition model for its undergraduates, in which tuition rates differ depending on whether a student is new to the university or continuing.

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An orange banner affixed to a light pole reads "Oregon State University," while a campus building is visible in the background.

Oregon State University is in Corvallis, Oregon.

Bryan M. Vance / OPB

Continuing undergraduate students at OSU’s main campus in Corvallis will see about a $360 increase in annual in-state tuition and a $1,080 increase in out-of-state tuition, a 3.5% increase. New undergraduates starting at OSU this upcoming fall will see a roughly $450 increase in annual in-state tuition and a $1,395 increase in out-of-state tuition, a 4.5% increase.

Undergraduate students taking classes at OSU this summer will be charged the same rate as new in-state students starting in the fall.

“For students that are continuing, we have a rate increase which is about at our local rate of inflation,” Sherman Bloomer, OSU associate vice president of budget and resource planning, said during Friday’s meeting. “For new students, we increase it slightly more than that to recognize that they’re going to be here for the longest relative to continuing students, and we want to build the ability to invest in new things to benefit those students.”

Undergraduate in-state students who started at OSU Corvallis this current academic year are paying $10,560 annually in tuition, if they’re taking 15 credits per term. Out-of-state students who started this year pay $31,515.

Those students who are continuing next year will pay $10,920 and $32,595, respectively; total tuition includes some extra flat fees, according to documents from OSU’s Finance and Administration Committee.

New in-state undergraduates starting next academic year will pay $11,010 and new out-of-state undergraduates will pay $32,910, according to OSU board documents.

Tuition costs vary for in-state students at OSU’s campus in Bend — rates are slightly lower compared to the Corvallis campus for continuing students, but new Bend students will be paying the same as new Corvallis students starting next academic year.

Rates also differ for students in specialized programs, like engineering or forestry, and for online-only students attending OSU’s Ecampus.

OSU does not have a cohort tuition model for graduate students. In-state graduate students will not see an increase in base tuition. Out-of-state graduate students will see a roughly 3.5% increase.

Although OSU has not seen an enrollment decrease during the pandemic, according to data from Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, the university is still seeing a decline in the amount of tuition it’s receiving from students — due to factors like fewer international students enrolling, according to Bloomer.

OSU moves forward in presidential search

Also at Friday’s meeting, board members gave an update on where the university is at in choosing its new president. Its former president, F. King Alexander, resigned last year amid criticism over the way he had handled sexual misconduct allegations at the last university he was overseeing.

OSU Trustee Julie Manning said the board’s search advisory committee has discussed an “active prospects list” of provosts, deans and some sitting university presidents that have so far been recruited or nominated for the job.

Manning said the search advisory committee will figure out which presidential candidates they would like to meet with, and those “screening interviews” should happen early next month via Zoom. The committee will then recommend semi-finalists to OSU’s Board Chair who will then pick those semi-finalists and present them to the board — which will conduct interviews.

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Finalists will be announced publicly and will visit the OSU Corvallis campus to participate in forums and meetings. That reflects community calls for a more open presidential search process after Alexander’s resignation.

Manning said the board hopes to introduce the new president before the end of the academic year, in June.

Oregon Institute of Technology’s tuition increase subject to approval

Oregon Institute of Technology’s Board of Trustees approved increased tuition rates for the new academic year at a meeting on Thursday, though it still needs to get further approval from the state before implementing them.

OIT’s Board approved a 7% increase in base tuition and fees for all in-state and out-of-state students. Only considering tuition, it’s about a 6.6% increase. For undergraduates, that equates to a roughly $630 increase in annual in-state tuition and a $2,011 increase in out-of-state tuition.

Any proposed increase above 5% requires a review from Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, or HECC, which OIT’s Vice President of Finance and Administration said would happen next month.

In a statement on Friday, OIT President Nagi Naganathan noted that Oregon Tech specializes in STEM programs that require specialized equipment, which drives up costs.

”Increasing the tuition rates is our last resort,” Naganathan wrote.

He said that Oregon Tech saw a decrease in funding from the state, due to an update in the way the state allocates money to public universities.

Currently, in-state undergraduate students at OIT are paying about $9,570 in tuition annually, if they take 15 credits per term, and out-of-state students are paying about $30,466.

If the HECC approves OIT’s proposed increase, next academic year in-state undergraduates will pay about $10,200 and out-of-state students will pay about $32,477.

Like OSU, tuition varies at OIT depending on if students are in special programs. Mandatory fees also vary for students at OIT’s Klamath Falls campus and Portland-Metro campus.

Unlike OSU, Oregon Tech did see a decrease in enrollment during the pandemic. The university saw about an 8% enrollment decline this past fall in comparison to the fall of 2020, according to data from the HECC.

Even with the proposed 7% increase in base tuition and fees, OIT Vice President of Finance and Administration John Harman said the school could be looking to cover a roughly $4 million gap using its reserve funds, although that could lessen to about $1.5 million with one-time federal coronavirus aid.

The vote to pass the tuition increase was not unanimous by OIT’s board, with some members abstaining or voting against it.

OIT’s student government, the Associated Students of OIT, had initially recommended a 5% increase in base tuition and fees instead of the 7% increase that passed.

“ASOIT will not endorse more than a 5% increase until proper preparation, communication and exploration of alternatives have been made,” said Jack Zoucha, student government president for OIT’s Portland-area campus. “These tuition increases are just really unsustainable, and they’re continuing to affect both recruitment and retention.”

Naganathan said in his statement that OIT will continue to lobby for increased funding from the state along with raising funds from alumni, donors and other sources for scholarships and grants.

The rest of Oregon’s public universities will decide on their tuition rates for the next academic year in the next few months. The University of Oregon set its new tuition rates last month. Somewhat similar to OSU, it uses a cohort-based tuition model, but UO’s model locks tuition rates in for returning undergraduate students for up to five years.

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