MONMOUTH, Ore. – The Western Oregon University Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase of 4.55%, or $8 per credit, for Oregon resident undergraduate students in the 2020-21 academic year at its meeting Wednesday.
The 10 WOU students, two administrators and two faculty members who make up the Tuition and Fee Advisory Committee (TFAC) recommended the increase to the board after reviewing the university’s budget situation and receiving input from 120 students. The recommendation brings the resident undergraduate tuition rate to $184 per credit.
NJ Johnson, one of the student representatives on TFAC, explained how students this year drove the recommendation process through tabling, polling and other student engagement. “We looked at different forecasts, and it looked like if we went with a little higher increase this year, it would be better for future years. We tried to focus on the long-term effect of our recommendation.”
WOU President Rex Fuller said the university is dedicated to keeping its tuition affordable to support its mission of accessibility to higher education for all families. For example, during the 2019-20 academic year WOU had the lowest increase in tuition among the seven public Oregon universities.
“Increasing tuition is never ideal,” Fuller said. “We are living in unprecedented times where universities and colleges throughout the nation are learning to address a variety of challenges. The decision was necessary for WOU to continue to serve our students by adhering to our high standards of academic excellence. WOU is fortunate to have people who believe in and support the work we do to ensure students who want to attend WOU can afford to do so.”
The board also approved seven new undergraduate certificate programs in:
- Infant Toddler
- American Sign Language (ASL) Studies: Linguistics
- ASL Studies: Culture
- Justice/Service Learning with the Latino Community-Bilingual
- Achievement in Bilingual and Biliteracy Spanish
- Spanish-English Interpretation and Translation
- Aging and Older Adulthood
WOU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Rob Winningham said the new certificate programs allow students to gain the specialized knowledge and skills for careers in growing job markets. The programs also will help to increase WOU’s enrollment over the next five years.
“Our research shows there is a demand for certificates in each of these areas,” Winningham said. “WOU is dedicated to providing our students with opportunities to continue to advance in their careers.”
At the meeting, the board also:
- Approved a Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Studies.
- Heard an update from Fuller about the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s executive orders that resulted from it.
- Voted to reduce President Fuller’s FTE by the equivalent of one workweek of pay, effective July 1, 2020. Although approximately 20 administrators are taking an FTE reduction as part of budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year, the president’s reduction requires board approval.
Visit wou.edu/board for additional information about the April 15 board meeting.
About Western Oregon University
Western Oregon University, founded in 1856 in Monmouth, is the state’s oldest public university. Serving almost 5,000 students, WOU is a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution with about 70% of the student population being from Oregon. A significant portion of attendees are members of under-represented groups, veterans or non-traditional students. WOU is Oregon’s campus of choice for those seeking a transformative education in a supportive, student-centered learning community where classes are taught by faculty. Together we succeed.