Western Oregon University Board of Trustees pledges to keep tuition rates affordable

Group of four students sitting at a table outdoors and smiling

The Western Oregon University Board of Trustees discussed on Wednesday updates concerning a budget shortfall for the 2019-20 fiscal year and strategies for the 2020-21 university budget that address several universal higher education hurdles. President Rex Fuller reiterated his intention that the university remain affordable to Oregonians seeking a four-year degree.

“WOU is not immune to the challenges facing universities and colleges across the nation. Our enrollment is down at the same time state appropriations are not covering key, mandatory cost drivers,” Fuller said. “Despite those obstacles and our current budget shortfall, we will not be deterred from our goal to be the most affordable public university in Oregon.”

For the 2019-20 academic year, WOU had the lowest increase in tuition rates at 2.33%. It has not increased its housing rates for students in two years. Funding from the state came in at a lower level than anticipated. The FY20 shortfall is $1.3 million.

The university and its employees are collaborating to make budget reductions for FY20 that directly affect students as little as possible. Looking forward to fiscal year 2020-21, trustees on Wednesday discussed the university’s desire that neither tuition nor incidental fees should rise by no more than 5%. The board will finalize the FY21 budget at its June 10 meeting.

At the meeting, the board also:

  • Approved a new undergraduate minor in sustainability
  • Received a report on the 2019 Annual External Audit Report
  • Heard an update on legislative progress on several bills being addressed in the current short session. One of these is the statute that could allow Western, Eastern and Southern Oregon universities to offer professional doctorates
  • Received a report on recommendations for the procurement card program, including updates on policies, additional training and annual review

For additional information via the board docket, visit wou.edu/board

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