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Regents Approve OSU System Budget

Friday, June 24, 2005

OKMULGEE – The Oklahoma State University Board of Regents has approved an OSU System operating budget that will allow OSU to strengthen faculty through its “Restore, Reward and Grow” program, recruit more graduate students, increase tuition assistance to undergraduates, reduce class sizes, enhance the university’s research infrastructure and move the school toward its goal of becoming one of the top 75 research institutions in the nation.

OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly told regents the $741.4 million budget will allow all OSU System campuses and budget agencies to achieve goals laid out in the university’s “Achieving Greatness” strategic plan.

“I am delighted that the FY2006 budget moves us forward in our strategic plan by strengthening our faculty, our classroom experience and our research capabilities,” Schmidly said.

“We appreciate everything that state leadership did for higher education this year. They worked hard to ensure tuition increases will be kept as low as possible. We are especially grateful to Governor Henry, the legislative leadership and our local delegation for their commitment to providing additional funding for colleges and universities.”

The OSU System received an average increase in state appropriations of about six percent or $12.3 million for FY 2006. The system includes OSU-Stillwater, OSU- Tulsa, the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa, the Veterinary Health Sciences Center, OSU-Oklahoma City and OSU-Okmulgee. It also budgets for the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

The OSU System will receive $218.5 million in state appropriations. The rest of the operating budget comes from grants and contracts, student financial aid, tuition and fees, private gifts, revenue generating (auxiliary) campus enterprises and other sources.

OSU-Stillwater received a 5.23 percent increase in state appropriations, or about $5.5 million. However, nearly all of the increase, about $5.3 million, will be needed to cover the university’s mandatory costs, such as health insurance, employee benefits, utility increases, higher costs for library materials, ADA compliance issues and IT infrastructure.

Schmidly said that after paying mandatory costs, OSU would still have been chronically short in faculty numbers and unable to make any progress in its strategic priorities, especially the “Restore, Reward and Grow” faculty enhancement program, without modest increases in tuition and fees.

“In the years leading up to 2005, budget cuts left OSU with as many as 100 vacant faculty positions at a time when enrollments were growing,” Schmidly said. “Thanks to increased appropriations and other sources of revenue, we are continuing to reverse this problem by ‘restoring’ positions that were lost, ‘rewarding’ our current faculty and ‘growing’ the faculty by adding new positions.

“We are strengthening our research base, which will help us to recruit outstanding scientists and the nation’s top graduate students. A strong and successful research program is critical for a comprehensive university such as OSU. Top scientists and graduate students raise the overall academic quality and prestige of the institution, and they also contribute to economic development by creating new industries and bringing in millions of dollars in research grants and contracts.”

Pending approval by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education at their June 30 meeting, in-state students at OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa will see a 6.5 percent tuition increase and increases in fees for library automation costs, academic facility improvements and academic excellence programs. The tuition and mandatory fee increase for in-state seniors will be $294 for the entire year. In-state non-seniors also pay academic service fees, and their total increase in tuition and all fees averages about $450. Non-resident tuition will increase by 9 percent.

Even with the higher costs, OSU will remain the best buy in the Big XII. OSU’s average annual in-state student costs for tuition and mandatory fees will be $4,365, which is 83 percent of the current Big XII average of $5,207.

Schmidly said OSU will help students with additional financial assistance by increasing fee waivers for undergraduate students and increasing compensation and fee waivers for graduate students. Graduate students will be included in the university’s pay raise program.

Schmidly said faculty and staff at OSU-Stillwater will get an average 3 percent merit-based pay increase, effective Oct. 1, 2005. In addition, as part of the Restore, Reward and Grow program, another 3 percent will be available for merit faculty raises Jan. 1, 2006.

Highlights from other OSU System campuses and budget agencies

  • OSU-Oklahoma City – In-state tuition increase of 5.8 percent and 11.3 percent for non-residents is proposed. Fee waiver budget is being increased by $25,000.
  • OSU-Okmulgee is proposing tuition increases of 6.3 percent (lower division) and 6.4 percent (upper division) for in-state students and 9.3 percent for non-resident students.
  • OSU Center for Health Sciences – Priorities include continued expansion of Medicaid physician network, expansion of the telemedicine network and funding of a 3 percent raise program for faculty and staff, with an additional one percent pool to move faculty to 75 th percentile peer group average. The College of Osteopathic Medicine is proposing tuition increases of 7 percent for both resident and non-resident medical students.
  • Veterinary Health Sciences Center – Pending State Regents’ approval, tuition will increase 7 percent for both resident and non-resident students.
  • Agricultural Experiment Station – Will use a supplemental $2.5 million appropriation to fund its “Second Century Initiative” that will fill critical research faculty and staff positions and recruit graduate research assistants.
  • Cooperative Extension Service – Will fill critical faculty and staff positions by adding four state Extension specialists and two area support staff.
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