Tuition up at nearly all Oregon public universities this fall

Students make their way past Churchill Hall on the SOU campus in January. Drew Fleming photo
April 19, 2022

Schools said they are keeping up with the rate of inflation and dealing with budget deficits; SOU trustees to discuss tuition Friday

By Alex BaumhardtOregon Capital Chronicle

Incoming freshmen at nearly all of Oregon’s public universities will pay more for tuition this fall as schools struggle with inflation and budget deficits and face uncertain enrollment with Covid still lingering. Rate hikes range from 2% to 7% for Oregon residents across the state’s seven public universities. Oregon Tech has proposed the largest increase, raising annual tuition and fees by 7% or nearly $700 for Oregon residents attending full time and more than $2,000 for out-of-state students. 

At every university, student tuition and fees make up more than half of revenue. About a quarter comes from state appropriations and the rest from other sources, according to the Oregon Department of Education. Enrollment among all but one of the state’s public universities – Oregon State – was down in 2021-22 from 2019, before the pandemic. 

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees meets at noon Friday, April 22, to discuss options, according to Joe Mosley, director of community and media relations.

University of Oregon 

For the 2022-23 school year, the University of Oregon’s Board of Trustees decided to raise tuition 4.5% for in-state students and 3% for out-of-state students. The increases will only apply to incoming freshmen because the university locks in tuition for undergraduate students at the start of each new class. The university raised fees for all incoming freshmen by 3.74% from last year. 

Annual tuition and fees for resident undergraduates attending full time – three terms of 15 credit hours each – will be $15,000, up from $14,421 last year. Out-of-state students will pay $41,700, up from about $40,500 the year before. 

Graduate students will be charged up to 3% more for tuition, depending on the program. Students in the university’s law school will pay 5% more in the fall.

The University’s Tuition Advisory Board said it recommended the increases because of projected budget deficits. It expects to pay about $20 million more for operating costs by 2023, largely because of staff wage increases, according to a report from the university’s Tuition Advisory Board. It also cited inflation, the likelihood of fewer transfers to the university from community colleges and uncertainty about the ongoing impact of Covid on student retention and enrollment. 

Oregon Institute of Technology

Students attending Oregon Tech’s campuses in Klamath Falls and Portland might pay 7% more in tuition and fees beginning this fall. Because the increase is above 5%, the change has to be approved by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission. The university cited the high cost of equipment in science, technology, engineering and math programs as one reason for the increase along with a drop in money following a 2021 legislative change to the state’s public university funding formula. 

“While some regional universities saw increases of $7 to $8 million in funding from the formula revision, Oregon Tech funding was reduced, imposing considerable strain on meeting our student needs,” according to a press release.  

If approved, Oregon residents would pay $10,200 for a year of full-time tuition and fees, up $682 from last year. Out-of-state students would pay $32,500, up $2,100 from the previous year. 

Oregon State University

Due to inflation and increases in insurance costs and personnel, OSU’s incoming freshmen will pay 4.5% more than freshman last year, according to Steve Clark, vice president of university relations. The increase will cost full-time freshmen $450 more a year; nonresident freshmen will pay about $1,400 more in tuition. Returning sophomores, juniors and seniors will pay 3.5% more. For returning, resident undergraduates, tuition will rise  $360, while nonresidents will pay  $1,035 more for the year. 

Tuition will not rise  for resident graduate students, but nonresidents will have to pay  3.5% more for tuition. Student fees will increase from $26 to $50 per quarter – depending on whether students attend the Corvallis or Cascades campus.

In a press release, the university said it was increasing student aid by $11 million for the coming school year, bringing the university’s total financial aid to $84 million, double what it was five years ago.

Portland State University

Despite reporting a slightly higher general budget going into the 2022-23 school year, the Portland State University Board of Trustees is eyeing a 3.6% tuition increase for resident undergraduates and a 2% increase for resident graduates. They’re reviewing a 1% increase for out-of-state undergraduates and graduate students. The Tuition Review Advisory Committee recommended the increases at a meeting April 7 due to a projected enrollment decline of 4% and rising inflation.  

A full-time resident student would pay $9,000 a year, and a full-time, nonresident student would pay $27,900. For both, that’s $3,000 more than five years ago.

The committee recommended a 15% student building fee increase and an 8% increase in the university’s health services fee. 

The university’s Board of Trustees will vote on the proposed increases at its meeting Thursday, April 21. Traditionally, the board has adopted the recommendation of the Tuition Advisory Committee, according to Christina Williams, director of university communications. 

In February, the university announced it would charge students in 11 counties in Washington state just 10% more than resident tuition, rather than charging them the full price of out-of-state tuition. 

Western Oregon University

The Tuition and Fees Advisory Committee at Western Oregon University in Monmouth has recommended a 3.19% increase for resident undergraduates and a 2.9% increase for out-of-state undergraduates outside the Western Undergraduate Exchange, an agreement among 11 western states, Texas, the Dakotas, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Marshall Islands. Those students pay 150% of Oregon resident tuition, about $15,000 less annually than students from other states.

The university’s Board of Trustees will meet April 20 to decide whether to approve the increases, which were prompted by cost increases, according to Ana Caraman, vice president for finance and administration. 

“We are trying to stay reasonable with inflation,” she said. “We still remain one of the most affordable institutions in Oregon.”

The only fee increases will be for health services, costing  $4 more per term. 

Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University froze tuition for students in 2021 due to Covid. For the 2022-23 school year, the university’s Board of Trustees is considering a 4.9% increase for resident undergraduates – just below the 5% threshold that requires state approval – and a 4.25% increase for nonresident undergraduates. 

“We are catching up somewhat,” according to Tim Seydel, vice president for advancement at the school. “Like all of the state universities we are dealing with historic inflationary pressures.”

 Resident undergraduates would pay $475 more for tuition while nonresidents would pay $950 more.

The board will decide on the increases during two meetings in May.

Alex Baumhardt has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at betling@ashland.news.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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