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Oregon Tech Board of Trustees approve 8% tuition increase for 2017-18, will lower if state funding exceeds Governor’s budget

May 08, 2017
Oregon Tech will reduce its base tuition by 1 percent from its proposed level for every additional $20 million above the Governor’s budget, to a floor of 4 percent

At today’s meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), members approved the recommendation of its Executive Committee and unanimously voted to increase resident base tuition rates for the 2017-18 academic year by 8 percent. Nonresident undergraduate tuition will also increase by 8 percent, and graduate tuition by 6 percent. This tuition increase was supported by the Associated Students of Oregon Institution of Technology (ASOIT) student government as well as faculty leaders.

Oregon Tech’s president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan said, “The consideration of any tuition increase affects our current and future students, so we don’t take this lightly. I am proud of the transparent and thoughtful process that our Tuition Recommendation Committee engaged in and the input and discussion of this group, which includes students, faculty and staff. Our student leaders recognize the need for an increase now, and hence, are supportive of the proposed increases. They have also expressed their appreciation of the university’s willingness to share in the increase in costs so the entire burden does not fall on the students.”

Vice president for Finance and Administration, Brian Fox, described the factors that the Tuition Recommendation Committee considered in setting the tuition rates. He noted that there are a number of costs borne by the university over which Oregon Tech has no control. These include increases in employee pension and healthcare costs through PERS and PEBB, which the public universities are currently obligated by the state to participate in for their employees; and the staff contract which defines pay levels across all public universities in Oregon. Decreases in state funding are also a major factor in tuition setting, with the long term trend showing a dramatic shift over the last few decades, with students having to bear more and more of the cost of higher education in Oregon, and specifically at Oregon Tech.

Fox noted that the tuition recommendation is based on the assumption of $667 million in funding for public higher education in Oregon, which is the level of the Governor’s Recommended Budget. Should the legislature provide funding above this amount, Oregon Tech will reduce its base tuition by 1 percent from its proposed level for every additional $20 million above the Governor’s budget, to a floor of 4 percent. Oregon Tech’s focus is on making investments in new faculty for in-demand, high growth majors, medical simulation equipment, as well as engineering and IT systems. Importantly, Oregon Tech will protect program quality and students, with a 10% increase to the pool of scholarship support to help low income students and those who are close to completion. Oregon Tech will balance tuition increases with spending out of its reserves as well as targeted reductions and efficiency improvements. Oregon Tech will continue its investment in enhanced student support services and retention specialists focused on at-risk students.

“Of course no one wants a tuition increase, but we believe in the value of an Oregon Tech degree and so do our students,” said Fox. “Our success rates of 95% and average starting salaries of $56,000 a year are because Oregon Tech’s in-demand graduates are prepared for professional practice and ready to contribute on Day One. When you do the math, students easily end up paying more if courses and class sections are limited and they spend more time and money in school, borrow more, and lose income from not being in the workforce. Every additional term is about $2,700 in tuition costs, and that’s more expensive than the $600 annual tuition increase the Board approved, while assuring the right kind of investments to benefit our students.”

For any tuition increases over 5 percent, the public universities must present their Board's recommendation and rationale for the increase to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission; Oregon Tech and other universities are presenting on May 10 to commissioners for this last step in the approval process.
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