(Correction: Around 3 p.m. Friday, June 25, Angela Caddell of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education emailed NonDoc to say that a “clerical error” had been identified in an agenda attachment. Although that attachment listed Redlands Community College as increasing its tuition and fees 1.1 percent, the El Reno-based college did not request or receive a tuition or fee increase. This story’s headline and content have been adjusted to reflect as much.)
During the second day of their first in-person meeting of the year, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved tuition and mandatory fee hikes this morning for 12 of the state’s 25 public colleges and universities.
“The COVID-19 crisis significantly impacted our public colleges and universities,” State Regent Chairwoman Ann Holloway said during Thursday’s meeting. “This modest increase at some institutions in our state system will help them continue to focus on increasing college degree completion in key areas of workforce demand (such as engineering and nursing).”
The regents heard requests regarding tuition and fees from the presidents of Oklahoma’s public institutions on Wednesday. Twelve requested no increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students.
The University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus is increasing tuition and mandatory fees by 2.75 percent for in-state undergraduates. Oklahoma State University’s Stillwater and Tulsa campuses will increase by 2.5 percent.
When it comes to student loan debt, the regents said they want to make sure colleges and universities are teaching financial literacy to help students save money and be able to get themselves out of possible debt.
Rose State College President Jeanie Webb, who did not request an increase, said her institution offers workshops for students to learn how to use and spend money.
“I do think (…) that financial literacy continues to be very important,” Webb said. “Because the new generation does things very differently, and we still have to write checks occasionally, and you still need to understand how much money is in the bank. Even though high schools are working on that, we still have a lot of students who don’t understand that.
Generally speaking, Oklahoma has relatively low tuition costs, ranking 46th in the nation for the price of in-state tuition. During the 2021 legislative session, Oklahoma lawmakers increased appropriations for higher education by 5.5 percent, or $42.4 million. Lawmakers appropriated an additional $4.3 million to help regional and two-year higher education institutions with maintenance and operations.
The prior year, as the state budget shrank owing to the pandemic and crashing petroleum prices, the Oklahoma Legislature cut higher education appropriations by 4 percent, or $31.7 million. But that year, colleges and universities also received significant federal allocations through COVID-19 relief packages.
Institutions raising tuition and mandatory fees
The following higher education institutions received approval to increase their tuition and mandatory fees for the 2021-2022 academic year:
- Carl Albert State College, 7.3 percent
- East Central University, 2 percent
- Murray State College, 1.2 percent
- Northeastern State University, 2.9 percent
- Northern Oklahoma College, 2.8 percent
- Oklahoma Panhandle State University, 1.7 percent
- Oklahoma State University, 2.5 percent
- Rogers State University, 2 percent
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 2.7 percent
- University of Central Oklahoma, 2.7 percent
- University of Oklahoma, 2.7 percent
- Western Oklahoma State College, 1.6 percent
Institutions holding tuition and mandatory fees flat
The following public colleges and universities are not increasing their tuition or mandatory fees:
- Cameron University
- Connors State College
- Eastern Oklahoma State College
- Langston University
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
- Northwestern Oklahoma State University
- Oklahoma City Community College
- Redlands Community College
- Rose State College
- Seminole State College
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University
- Tulsa Community College
- University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma