Western Oregon University Trustees Approve Strategic Tapping of Reserves as Legislature Mulls Funding

Sunny day on the WOU campus with someone riding a bike

The Western Oregon University Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a deficit budget for 2019-2020, which reflects a previously approved 2.33% increase in resident undergraduate tuition. The budget passed even as the Oregon Legislature has yet to release its Public University Support Fund.

WOU was one of the first state universities to finalize its new tuition rate in advance of the budget decision, and it was by far the smallest increase. The university was able to keep its rate increase low by redesigning its tuition framework, continuing its budget- conscious operations and being prepared to tap reserves.

“We know that deficit budgeting is not sustainable, but the university’s mission is to provide affordable degree pathways, and we met the challenge to keep tuition within reach for our students” said WOU President Rex Fuller. “Additional funding from the Legislature is deeply appreciated, but it won’t cover everything, so we’re ensuring that gap is filled.”

WOU joined with the other six public universities in seeking a $120 million increase in the PUSF in order to match the current service level for those universities. Recent indications show the Legislature is expected to approve $100-$120 million above the Governor’s Recommended Budget, which released last fall.

In other action Wednesday, the board:

  • Heard an update from Faculty and Staff senates with introductions of their new leaders
  • Got details about a pending seven-year campaign by the WOU Foundation
  • Met the new Associated Students of Western Oregon University president.
  • Heard an update on the creation of a doctorate of physical therapy program at WOU as well as the university’s progress toward becoming a Hispanic-serving institution
  • Approved a new graduate certificate in Reflective Practice—Interpreting Studies
  • Heard an update on programs and growth for the WOU:Salem location
  • Trustee Jaime Arredondo was elected as the new board vice chair, effective July 1.

For more information about the board meeting, visit wou.edu/board

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