AUGUST 2, 2007

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OU takes action to help students impacted by tuition,
textbook costs

The University of Oklahoma recently announced two major initiatives to help students impacted by increasing tuition and textbook costs. OU President David Boren announced that pledges and gifts to OU’s Campaign for Scholarships have reached $88 million, allowing 3,500 more students to receive scholarships in the last two years. In addition, Boren announced that the university has launched a new $200,000 program to help reduce textbook cost burdens on students.

Boren said, “We are determined that in spite of the pressure of costs and tuition increases over the past few years that OU will remain affordable and will keep open the door of opportunity for all qualified students.”

With the increases proposed for the 2007-2008 academic year, OU expects to maintain its current ranking as second to the bottom of the Big 12 Conference in tuition and mandatory fees.

Raised in only three years, the $88 million in gifts and pledges to OU’s Campaign for Scholarship endowments doubles the amount of scholarships available at OU and equals all prior scholarship gifts to OU in the university’s 112-year history. The original campaign goal of $50 million was reached in March 2006 – just one year and six days after OU officially launched the five-year campaign. Because the need for scholarships remains high, the Campaign for Scholarships Committee increased the goal to $100 million to be raised by September 2009.

These new scholarship funds have allowed the university to award more than 5,000 new student scholarships, including the new Sooner Heritage Scholarships that are especially designed to help middle-income families. Last year, resident student tuition and fees went up less than $400 while available financial aid for students with financial needs went up by more than $500, allowing OU to actually gain ground in making the university more affordable in spite of tuition increases. To assist low-income families, the university will continue to increase need-based tuition waivers by the same percentage increase as any tuition increases.

To reduce the burden on students of textbook costs, the university has recently implemented several new textbook programs and policies. The $200,000 fund Boren has established will allow for the purchase of reserve textbooks for large required general education courses as well as for the purchase of electronic access to textbook materials. Both would be available for students free of charge at the library subject to copyright laws.

This fall, OU will begin offering a new scholarship program known as “Sooner Promise – an OHLAP Partnership” to complement Oklahoma’s Promise – the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program. While Oklahoma's Promise presently pays for tuition only, Sooner Promise offers qualifying students an additional four-year scholarship which pays for mandatory fees and textbooks.

In additional textbook-related actions, OU faculty members will be encouraged to avoid requiring new editions of textbooks for their courses if earlier editions, which can be purchased at used book prices, are adequate.

Contact: Jerri Culpepper, OU, (405) 325-1701