SOU: Financially "Fragile"

, Posted: Tue, June 12 2012 at 6:06 PM, Updated: Tue, June 12 2012 at 6:28 PM

Like many colleges in our state, Southern Oregon University is financially strapped. It's the reason they they raised tuition 9.9%.

"Turns out SOU's request was the highest of the seven campuses in the Oregon University System," said SOU Spokesman Jim Beaver.

At the beginning of this month, Oregon's Higher Education Chancellor singled out SOU.

"The chancellor happened to make a comment about the fragility of the situation at SOU," said Beaver.

But he said it's not just SOU suffering. Smaller schools like Western Oregon and Eastern Oregon are also in the same boat.

"All the regionals I would say are just not as strong financially as the big schools in the state," Beaver said.

According to Jim Beaver, 20 years ago SOU received 70% of their operating revenue from the state. However now, they're only getting 30% and he says costs are still going up.

"Until support from the state is more secure, until our costs are more predictable, there will be a lot of shifting under our feet and an unstable financial situation," said Beaver.

While bigger Oregon universities like Portland State and U of O may be a little better off with more students and a larger donor base, they're still not completely out of the woods.

An official with the Oregon University System said state funding has gone down over $120-million since the 1999-2001 budget biennium. Even as funding dwindles, the officials at the Oregon University System said they're serving 30,000 more students.

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