The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, which serves as the governing body for Rogers State University, late Tuesday approved RSU’s 2017-18 budget, which includes a 5 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees to help offset continued cuts in state appropriations for higher education.
The increase would mean Oklahoma residents taking 15 undergraduate credit hours at RSU would see a $165.00 increase per semester when compared with last year’s rates. The OU Board of Regents approved the change in RSU’s undergraduate and graduate tuition and fees during its meeting Tuesday, and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education will provide the final decision on the proposal during its meeting on June 29. RSU’s proposed tuition increase is in line or below requested changes for most other Oklahoma regional universities.
RSU requested to adjust its tuition and mandatory fees after the state reduced higher education support by 6.1 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. This cut is on top of last year’s historic 17 percent cut, bringing RSU’s state allocation to its lowest level since becoming a four-year university in 2000-01. State funds now total about 33 percent of the university’s overall revenue, compared with nearly 75 percent during RSU’s first year as a regional university.
The proposed tuition adjustment will offset a portion of the reduced state support, with budget cuts and employee furloughs making up the balance. A campus-wide budget advisory committee has been meeting regularly throughout the year to determine how to address cuts, and university officials met with members of the RSU Student Government Association to discuss the planned tuition and fee increase. RSU’s budget-relieving activities this year include all employees taking up to 12 unpaid furlough days during the upcoming year, reductions in operating expenses across all campus offices, restrictions for in- and out-of-state travel and nine faculty/staff positions that will be eliminated or left unfilled.
“A college degree continues to be one of the best investments a person can make in their future, with studies showing more than 60 percent of all new Oklahoma jobs will require some college education,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. “Despite continued cuts to its state allocation, RSU is working to keep tuition increases low so that a college degree remains within reach for students.”
The university continues to be committed to providing student financial aid, both through institutional support and fundraising efforts among the university’s alumni and friends. The 2017-18 RSU budget includes a $479,000 increase in scholarships to $5.739 million, which is a 9.1 percent increase from the previous year. Scholarships and tuition waivers represent 17.5 percent of this year’s budget.
The RSU Foundation continues to increase its efforts to raise funds for scholarships and endowments, and last year distributed nearly $600,000 in scholarships for students. Through the efforts of the RSU Foundation and the RSU financial aid office, nearly 50 percent of RSU students last year were able to graduate without taking out student loans.
Thanks to RSU’s affordability and commitment to student scholarships, U.S. News and World Reports’ “America’s Best Colleges” has recognized RSU for five consecutive years as having among the nation’s lowest rates of graduates with student debt.
Any current or prospective students concerned that the tuition increase might keep them from staying in school are urged to contact one of RSU’s financial aid counselors to make sure they are maximizing all available scholarships, financial aid and on-campus jobs without having to shoulder student loans. For more information, please contact the RSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at www.rsu.edu/financial-aid or 918-343-7553.
Enrollment is currently underway for the fall semester on the RSU campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville, Pryor and online. Classes begin on Aug. 14. To enroll, or get more information, call 918-343-7777 or 1-800-256-7511 or visit www.rsu.edu.