Tuition increases to take effect next year

In a recent message to the university community, Portland State President Wim Wiewel indicated that it will be necessary to operate with a reduced budget in the next fiscal year, due to statewide revenue shortfalls.

In a recent message to the university community, Portland State President Wim Wiewel indicated that it will be necessary to operate with a reduced budget in the next fiscal year, due to statewide revenue shortfalls. In order to compensate for lost state revenue, the university has chosen to raise tuition for all students during the 2010–11 academic year.

Next year, in-state undergraduate students will face a 6 percent tuition increase, whereas non-residents will only face a 2 percent tuition increase. All graduate students will experience a 1 percent increase.

After the tuition increases take effect, a single 4-credit course will cost roughly $501.40 for a resident undergraduate student, as opposed to the $473 fee in 2009–10. In other words, a resident student taking 20 credit hours per term will face a $142 tuition increase, from $2,846 to $2,988, including fees.

Non-resident undergraduates will pay $1,791 for a 4-credit course, and their tuition for 20 credit hours will rise by $185. A resident graduate student taking a 4-credit course will pay roughly $1,260.50 in 2010–11, up from $1,248 in 2009–10.

At PSU, this reality will add to the 18,700 students who already accept a form of financial aid from the university, according to Dee Wendler, Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller.

“For PSU undergrads, the average [financial aid] award is $11,390,” she said. “Taken as an average overall [for] undergrads, this represents 64 percent loans, 30 percent grants and scholarships, 5 percent fee remissions and 1 percent work-study.”

 According to Wendler, the average award for PSU graduate students is $18,900.

“Taken as an average overall [for] grad students, this represents 80.1 percent loans, 3.4 percent grants and scholarships, 16.3 percent fee remissions and 0.2 percent work-study,” she said.
These particular tuition increase rates were chosen as a reflection of an anticipated 3 percent growth in enrollment for the 2010–11 school year. In addition, they were also made under the assumption that there will be no further state funding cuts beyond the 9 percent already requested by Governor Ted Kulongoski.

The 9 percent reduction in every Oregon state agency’s budget stems from a forecast that drops the 2009–11 revenue by $560 million. According to Kulongoski, reductions will be accounted for by June 30, 2011.

This means a $5 million loss for PSU, Wiewel said in the e-mail that was sent out last week. 

“I am as distressed as I know all of you are by this unfortunate news,” he said in the e-mail. “The last two years have been very challenging and it is clear that we are not yet out of the woods.”

 However, Wiewel also indicated that some of the revenue generated by tuition increases might be able to offset potentially damaging budget reductions in both teaching and non-teaching university units.

In addition, a budget presentation given by the state budget agency in March revealed that over half of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds allocated to Oregon have yet to be spent. There are some hopes that these funds will be disbursed to the Oregon University System to help cushion state revenue losses.

However, regardless of potential short-term fixes, these cuts come at a time when the OUS is already underfunded. According to its budget summary, the OUS is operating at a 13 percent shortfall from the $925.3 million essential budget level determined by the Department of Administrative Services, putting it at $807.5 million.

Regardless, PSU will continue to operate and support students to the best of its abilities during the economic recession, Wendler said.

The university plans to move forward in the budgeting process, according to a memorandum released by the University Budget Team on May 4, keeping PSU’s institutional priorities in mind.

These priorities include continuing support for enrollment growth, enhancing infrastructure and increasing externally funded research.

 The UBT’s total budget recommendation, as of May 4, was for $16.76 million. An estimated $1.5 million would be allocated to expand tuition remission in order to help students with growing financial needs. However, the memorandum was drafted before Kulongoski released information showing that there were more budget shortfalls than expected.

On Friday, June 4, the State Board of Higher Education will meet with Senate President Peter Courtney to discuss higher education budget issues and a budget reduction plan. In addition, the board will review tuition increase proposals from OUS campuses, including the UBT’s recommendation.

The meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the Urban Plaza, suite 515. Docket materials are available at