ASHLAND, Ore. — The Tuition Advisory Council at Southern Oregon University is looking to raise tuition by nearly 14 percent next fall if the legislature cuts about $80 million in funding from the state’s seven public universities.
“After months and months of deliberation, this process started last year, we felt that this was the best solution that we could come up with,” Johanna Pardo, member of the board of directors for the Oregon Student Association said. “We came to the decision that a 13.5 percent increase would be essentially what we would have to do so that we wouldn’t severely reduce the services that we were providing to students.”
Pardo said most SOU students wouldn’t be impacted as much as other campuses like Portland State University and the University of Oregon.
“Their tuition increases aren’t as high but their overall tuition rates will be higher than ours, so we still remain competitive to the surrounding states as well as in-state students,” Pardo said.
Joe Mosley, Director of Media and Community Relations at SOU, said the tuition increase is one of the options the school is considering based on different funding scenarios.
“We’re looking at a range of options this time around because the legislature is kind of in flux, there’s a lot of possibilities on the table,” Mosley said.
Mosley said three decades ago, the state paid for two-thirds of the operating costs of the seven public universities and tuition paid for the remaining one-third. That ratio, he said, has flip-flopped.
“We’re hopeful that trend will stop,” Mosley said. “We’re hoping that the legislature will decide that higher education should be a much higher priority and that’s certainly what we’re pushing for.”
The board of trustees will meet on Thursday to discuss funding options. The board is required to approve tuition for the upcoming year each spring before the legislature gets around to funding in July.