February 15, 2021
To University of Oregon community members,
I have received recommendations from the students, faculty, and staff who comprise the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board (TFAB). I am asking the campus to offer feedback on the details of the TFAB proposal so that I can make an informed and thoughtful recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees, which will set tuition rates at its regular meeting on March 8 and 9. I will host a virtual public forum on the recommendation this Thursday, February 18, at 6:00 p.m. Please register for the forum using this form. If you cannot make the forum and would like to provide written feedback, please submit it using this form by 5:00 p.m., Monday, February 22.
Before I discuss TFAB’s tuition and fee proposal for the 2021-22 academic year, it is worth reminding everyone that last year the Board of Trustees approved a new, guaranteed tuition program, the Oregon Guarantee, which dramatically changed the institution’s tuition model. That model sets a guaranteed tuition rate for each new class of undergraduate students, which means tuition and administratively controlled mandatory fees do not change for those students for five years. As part of the transition plan for the new program, last March the Board of Trustees locked annual tuition and administratively controlled mandatory fee increases for undergraduate students who started prior to the summer of 2020 at 3 percent per year for a four-year period.
The undergraduate tuition rates proposed by TFAB only impact next year’s incoming class. In this case, TFAB is recommending that the locked tuition and administratively controlled fee rates for these incoming students be set 3 percent higher than the rates for this year’s cohort of first-year nonresident students and 4.5 percent higher than the rates for this year’s cohort of resident students. Undergraduate students will know the cost of their education at the UO—one guaranteed price for tuition and all administratively controlled mandatory fees that does not change from the time a student enrolls to the time they graduate (assuming they graduate in five or fewer years).
As always, we will continue to support those Oregonians most in need through the PathwayOregon scholarship and advising program, which pays 100 percent of tuition and fees for qualifying Federal Pell Grant-eligible Oregonians. As I noted last year, one of the other major benefits of guaranteed tuition is that students who receive other scholarships and grants will see the real value of their financial aid packages stay consistent during their enrollment instead of diminishing due to annual tuition increases.
The TFAB memo also addresses graduate tuition rates. The schools and colleges proposed increases that vary from 0 to 5 percent, depending upon the program (see the TFAB memo for details). TFAB is recommending approval of these rates.
In addition, all administratively controlled mandatory fees are part of the new guaranteed program. Again, this means that once set, these fees will not change for five years for entering undergraduate students. Administratively controlled mandatory fees are currently locked for first-year students. Last year, the Board of Trustees also approved 3 percent annual increases in total administratively controlled mandatory fees for undergraduate students who started at the university prior to the summer of 2020. With these rates already set, TFAB reviewed the following issues related to existing administratively controlled mandatory fees and provided recommendations (see TFAB memo for details):
- Fee rate for the incoming cohort of undergraduate students: 3.76 percent higher than previous cohort
- Fee rate for graduate students: 3 percent total increase
- Division of 3 percent increase in fees for continuing undergraduate students: recommendations in TFAB memo
In addition to these recommended increases, TFAB is forwarding a plan from the UO Department of Intercollegiate Athletics to create a new athletics ticket fee of $29.50 per term for incoming students, which would start in the upcoming academic year. This proposed fee is the result of the ASUO Senate decision to reallocate approximately $1.8 million of Incidental Fee revenue (which is controlled by ASUO) from the Athletics Student Ticketing agreement, which has been in place since 1987, to other initiatives. That funding has historically paid for a large allotment of free tickets to students for football and basketball games, as well as unlimited access to our many other sports, which thousands of students take advantage of each year. The new proposed fee would continue to provide incoming students with free access to most athletic events, as well as a number of football and basketball tickets. If implemented, athletics would work with the Division of Student Life to determine how best to manage access to UO athletic events for current undergraduate and graduate students who would not be charged the new fee. Again, please carefully review the proposal in TFAB’s memo.
I want to thank all the members of TFAB for their hard work and dedication. This proposal is the product of nearly a dozen open meetings, hours and hours of analysis, and work by a group of volunteer students, faculty, and staff who care deeply about the UO and our ability to deliver quality, affordability, and accessibility.
I look forward to hearing your feedback and insights. Thank you.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law