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Supplemental Tuition Surcharges Approved by State Board of Higher Education
Three Universities may assess additional tuition surcharges to meet $9.1 million cut to higher education budget

PORTLAND, January 21 - Oregon's State Board of Higher Education today approved an amendment to its Academic Year Fee Book that would give the state's public universities the option to implement supplemental, temporary tuition surcharges in either winter or spring term, or both, of 2003. This step comes in the wake of the additional $9.1 million reduction in General Funds for the Oregon University System imposed by the Governor last month and effective February 1. The continuing decline in state revenues necessitated that all state agencies cut General Fund budgets to meet the $112 million shortfall as a result of the December revenue forecast.

"Enrollment demand at all Oregon public universities continues to be at an all time high," said James Lussier, president of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (the Board). "This growth, coupled with a series of General Fund reductions, has resulted in a decline in the amount of resources available per student for instruction and support services," added Lussier. "To help the neediest students cope with the tuition surcharges, each institution has created affordability options that will soften the impact of these increases."

In November, the Board approved the ability of Oregon University System (OUS) campuses to institute temporary tuition surcharges for the 2003 winter and spring terms to help meet the almost $27 million cut in General Funds should Measure 28 fail in January. Each of the OUS campuses instituted tuition surcharges beginning this month, ranging from $4 to $13 per credit hour for resident undergraduates. Then in December, OUS was ordered by the Governor to cut an additional $9.1 million in General Funds by February 1. At the December Board meeting, an amendment was approved to allow OUS institutions to assess temporary supplemental tuition surcharges beyond those approved in November, and return to the Board in January with proposals.

The vote taken by the Board at today's meeting gave three universities - Oregon State University, Southern Oregon University and University of Oregon - approval to implement additional temporary tuition surcharges to help offset revenue reductions from the state, should this be necessary. The other campuses are using alternative means to offset budget cuts, including imposing further cuts to services, enlarging class sizes, reducing section or course offerings, and offsetting reductions with use of fund balances.

SOU plans to assess supplemental surcharges only in the spring term. OSU plans to spread tuition surcharges over winter and spring terms; the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend will not implement tuition surcharges. UO will determine whether to assess surcharges in the spring term after the outcome of Measure 28 is known. If implemented, supplemental tuition surcharges on these campuses will be fairly modest, ranging from $3 to $5 per credit hour for resident undergraduate students.

Chancellor of the Oregon University System, Richard Jarvis, said, "All of our universities are concerned about adding more costs to students, but in this type of state economy, it's gotten more and more difficult to shield them from the impact of these budget reductions. We share the sentiment of the Oregon Student Association that affordability for students is a priority and will continue to address this on each campus, and in our System planning process."

Should Measure 28 fail, total General Fund reductions for OUS will total $88 million, or 10.5% in this biennium. This figure is a combination of the initial $52 million cut in July, the $9 million cut in December and the $27 million cut contingent upon the outcome of Measure 28.

In other action at today's and yesterday's meetings, the Board:

  • Approved the System Strategic Planning Directions 2003-04 as a blueprint for developing strategies to move the agenda of the Board forward. The System Strategic Planning Committee is working to assure that postsecondary education is affordable to Oregonians, and connecting this to the other strategic planning variables of access, enrollment management, quality, the institutional flexibility initiatives and public finance. The Plan focuses on (1) system design, including examination of the operating framework of the Board and the System; (2) proposing a new higher education financial strategy for resource acquisition; and (3) creating and promoting a new social contract/covenant with the citizens of Oregon and with State Government.

  • Received and discussed the 2002-03 OUS Enrollment Report, showing an increase of 5.7% over Fall 2001, for a total of 78,111 as of the fourth week of class, an all time high. Specifically contributing to the growth are the large high school graduating class of 2002 and an increase in resident transfer and graduate student enrollment. Eastern Oregon University showed the largest percentage increase of OUS campuses for the fourth year in a row at almost 14.8%. OSU managed a new all-time high enrollment of 18,774, up 4.1% overall. Portland State University set a new System enrollment high of 21,841, showing an increase in resident first time freshmen of 10.6%. UO showed a two-year increase of 15%. SOU saw an increase in first time freshman and community college transfers. Oregon Institute of Technology continued to show increases in new transfer students.

  • Endorsed the Oregon Council for Knowledge and Economic Development recommendations to make changes to the Oregon Revised Statutes to direct the missions and functions of the Oregon University System and State Board of Higher Education to promote the creation, dissemination, and commercialization of ideas to benefit the economy.

The Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to


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