Students attending one of Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities will continue to benefit from tuition and fee costs that remain among the lowest in the United States. They will pay an average of $7 per credit hour more annually for tuition and mandatory fees next academic year.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Thursday approved an average 5.2 percent increase to tuition and mandatory fees for the 2012-13 academic year.
Higher education officials cited record enrollments, increases in operational costs and prior years of state appropriation reductions as contributing factors to the tuition increases.
“Our goal is to provide students with a quality education at an affordable cost, and our institutions are doing everything they can to reach that goal through cost savings and efficiencies,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma ranks seventh in the nation in college affordability and eighth in higher education efficiency. This modest increase in tuition and fees will help our institutions meet their mandatory fixed costs which continue to increase. Our institutions will continue to improve the way they prepare students to succeed in college, provide academic programs that respond to the needs of business and add value to Oklahoma’s economy.”
The state’s research universities, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and Tulsa, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman, increased their in-state tuition and mandatory fee rates by 2.8 and 3 percent, respectively.
Other state universities have tuition increases averaging 6 percent for in-state undergraduates.
Oklahoma’s community colleges will increase their in-state tuition rates by an average of 5 percent.
In order to deal with record enrollments, reduced state appropriations and increases in mandatory operating costs, Oklahoma’s colleges and universities have continued to tighten their belts by cost-saving efforts including energy conversion and conservation, reduction in administrative expenses, and travel and hiring freezes. These cost-saving initiatives have saved $347.1 million from 2009-13.
State law requires tuition to stay at levels below the average among comparable institutions, and Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities continue to be well within those limits.
The law also requires the State Regents to make a reasonable effort to increase need-based financial aid across the state system proportionate to any increase in tuition.
Oklahoma’s Promise, a state scholarship program that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn free college tuition, will receive $57 million for FY 2013. More than $36 million of the money appropriated by the Legislature for FY 2013 will go toward additional financial aid programs.