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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Proposal calls for tuition hike at Oregon universities

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Proposal calls for tuition hike at Oregon universities

Students will pay more to attend Oregon’s seven public universities next year. 

The universities are proposing to raise tuition by an average of 6 percent.

But the universities would offset that increase with cuts in fees so that total tuition and fees for 2012-13 will climb 3.4 percent. 

The State Board of Higher Education is expected to vote on the proposed increases at its meeting Friday in Portland.

Eastern Oregon University faces a 5.6 percent tuition hike for 2012-13, increasing the annual tuition and fees for a full-time undergraduate to $7,238. The campus increased tuition by 6.8 percent in 2011-12.

Also, for the first time, EOU would start charging about twice as much tuition for students outside of Oregon, Washington and Idaho. 

“When we look at tuition and fees, what we want to maintain is a balance of access and affordability and to maintain quality,” said EOU President Bob Davies. “That is the balancing act we have.” 

EOU is expected to shift to more expensive, comprehensive insurance and make it voluntary, as the University of Oregon and Oregon State University have long done. 

That means some students will have lower fees, but no health insurance. 

University officials said tuition increases are necessary to offset cuts in state funding and for rising costs of faculty and staff salaries and benefits. State funding for its universities dropped from $824 million in 2009-11 to $691 million this biennium, a 16 percent cut. 

Students were involved at every campus in setting tuition increases. Even so, student leaders caution any increase puts a heavier burden on young people who already are struggling. 

“We continue to see students paying more and getting less,” said Emily McLain,  executive director of the Oregon Student Association, which represents students from all the universities. “Students are graduating with more and more debt. Student loans now outpace credit card debt.” 

Students worry, McLain said, the state’s reaching “a tipping point where Oregonians can’t afford to go to college at the same time we’re trying to increase graduation from high school and going to college rates.” 

The proposed tuition hikes for next school year range from 1.5 percent at Western Oregon University to 9.9 percent at Southern Oregon University. But all universities are off-setting their tuition increases by reducing health insurance and other fees. 

Because of fee cuts, total tuition and fees would actually drop 1.4 percent at Portland State University and 1.1 percent for some students at Western Oregon University.

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