University system fees may rise

Students will mostly likely pay more for college next year regardless of a tuition freeze, according to the Oregon University System’s proposed fee schedule for 2005-2006.

In addition to existing fee increases, university administrators around the state have requested – and OUS has approved – 19 new “resource” fees, including two at Portland State, seeking to provide revenue for Oregon’s cash-strapped universities. The fees have not been finalized yet, but the Fee Book is scheduled for approval at the next OUS board meeting at Chemeketa Community College Friday, June 3.

The document projects a 3 percent hike in PSU resident undergraduate tuition. But with non-resource fee increases factored in, the total tuition and fees increase jumps to 9 percent over 2004-2005.

OUS defines the fee as one applied to students enrolled in a specific program, school, department or college.

“These fees are assessed to students enrolled in specific programs to provide funds to assist with faculty, resource materials, equipment and specialized services,” the Fee Book draft reads.

It specifies that the resource fee is not a lab fee, but may be applied to courses in the same manner. For example, graduate students in the PSU Speech and Hearing Science program pay $250 per term to defray equipment costs.

The proposed fee schedule is subject to pending budget decisions. OUS notes that if the legislature freezes tuition, fee schedules may be revised again. The current version assumes no tuition freeze.

Portland State students in the Business Honors Program will pay $100 per term, and students in the Graduate School of Social Work will pay $25 per credit hour for distance education. Engineering and Computer Science resource fee jumped 60 percent from $250 to $400.

The four preexisting resource fees are the same as 2004-2005 rates. Speech and Hearing graduate students will continue to pay $250 per term and MBAs will pay $350 per term.

More costly are the fees at the University of Oregon. UO will charge seven new resource fees next year and will more than double some existing studio-based fees. Many of the new fees are called “non-studio based,” such as the $75 fee for Art History.

Though Portland State students will generally spend less on fees than they would at other Oregon public universities next year, proposed fees for 2005-06 are either holding steady or getting higher.

For a resident undergraduate taking 15 credits, combined PSU tuition and fees of $1,734 are the median of the seven OUS institutions.

Every Oregon university charges a $45 building fee, the maximum allowed by law.

Portland State has the lowest incidental fee with $137. Students determine this fee. Western Oregon University, which has the next highest, charges students $35. The highest incidental fee is $212 at Southern Oregon University.

At $122, PSU has the highest health fee, $6 more than Eastern Oregon University, the next highest. Western Oregon University has the lowest at $85.

PSU falls in the middle of the technology fee’s $50-100 range with $72.

The only other university with a steeper increase in tuition and fees is Oregon Institute of Technology, where students will fork over 10 percent more next year. Oregon State University has the smallest projected increase at 2 percent.