President Michael H. Schill sent the following tuition recommendation message to campus:
February 13, 2019
Dear Campus Community,
Last week, I received the 2019–20 tuition and fee recommendation from the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board (TFAB), a body comprising students, administrators, and members of the faculty and staff. Among the recommendations is a tuition increase for nonresident undergraduates of 2.97 percent, a $22-per-credit-hour change that equates to a $990 increase in tuition for full-time, out-of-state students. The board also recommends a $35-per-term increase in the health center fee to accommodate significant growth in the number of students seeking help for mental and physical health concerns, a $2 increase in the recreation center fee, and a $3 increase in the EMU fee. In addition, the TFAB also recommends accepting the proposals from schools and colleges for tuition rates for the University of Oregon’s many graduate programs.
After meeting with students earlier this week to seek their input, I am writing to share with the broader student and university community that I intend to accept the board’s recommendation on tuition and fees for the next academic year. Pursuant to university policy, however, I will solicit additional public input on the plan before I forward my final recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees for consideration at its next regular meeting on March 4–5.
This is a different tuition-setting process than in years past, and, to be clear, this recommendation does notaddress resident undergraduate tuition rates at the UO. Our in-state tuition rate closely correlates to state funding from the Oregon Legislature, which started meeting last month, and the university has joined all public universities in the state to make the case that higher education needs at least $120 million in new state support to keep resident tuition increases at or below 5 percent. The UO will delay setting resident tuition until May, when we hope to have a better sense of enrollment projections and how public higher education will be funded in the state budget. We will conduct a public input process to set resident tuition that mirrors development of the nonresident tuition recommendation.
Ensuring access and affordability to the UO for all Oregon students is among my top priorities. As noted in a recent op-ed in the Oregonian that I penned with campus leaders representing students and the faculty and staff, the current state budget proposal contains no new funding for higher education. Given the complex set of increasing costs faced by the UO—many of which remain beyond our control—flat funding would create substantial financial challenges on our campus and for other institutions across the state. The only way to address those would be through a combination of hefty tuition increases and difficult budget cuts.
I hope that it does not come to that, and we will work tirelessly over the coming months with stakeholders on campus and across the state to demonstrate the value of higher education and make the case in Salem for additional state funding. The state of Oregon has made progress with regard to public funding for higher education over the last few legislative sessions. Unfortunately, the reality is that state support for colleges and universities remains below prerecession levels, is still among the lowest in the nation, and clearly is not keeping pace with increases in our operating costs. As I wrote in the editorial, Oregon cannot afford to fall further behind.
In closing, despite the challenges, I remain extraordinarily optimistic about the future of the University of Oregon and am steadfast in my commitment to protect the progress we’ve made to enhance excellence in teaching, research, and support for student access and success programs. Together, we’ve come too far over the last few years to retreat, and we must remain vigilant in our pursuit of excellence in all that we do at the UO.
I welcome your input before I submit my recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees on Friday, February 22. Please provide any feedback on my proposals outlined here via this online form. The online comments will remain open until 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 20.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law