BOT increases tuition, sets finances for coming fiscal year


Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, June 6.

The Board of Trustees approved a tuition increase of 3.95 percent, a budget for fiscal year 2017 and a campus master plan at their meeting on June 6.

The tuition increase is under the proposed state cap of 4.2 percent. The state has not yet officially approved the cap, but if it ends up being set lower than 3.95 percent, OU will only raise tuition to match the cap.

“In no event will the budget that we’re passing exceed the state cap should that state cap be lower than 3.95,” said Mark Schlussel, chair of the board.

This raise comes on the heels of a proposed $400,000 cut in state funding for both OU and Eastern Michigan University. The two schools raised tuition over the state cap of 3.2 percent last year, surrendering state aid. The state’s proposal would penalize the schools for last year’s transgression over the cap, according to MLive.

A Michigan House-Senate panel approved the budget with the aid cut on June 1. Next it has to be approved by the House and Senate. If passed, the money will be distributed equally among the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.

The proposed state budget for Michigan universities is $39.78 million.

OU remains the lowest-funded state institution in Michigan, according to the general fund budget briefing, presented by President George Hynd. The school gets $2,831 per student each fiscal year. The average amount of money given per student of Michigan’s 15 public universities is $4,857.

The board also approved a $263,572,470 budget for the fiscal year of 2017, much of which is to be divided among OU’s colleges, schools and departments. For the first time, the Honors College was added to the budget, giving it a definite source of funding. In previous years, it was not specifically budgeted for.

The expenditures also allow for the hiring of a chief human resources officer. However, Trustee Ronald E. Robinson didn’t see the need for the creation of such a position, which would cost OU $261,100 for a salary and benefits.

Currently, there are about 15 people working in human resources at OU, said Scott Kunselman, chief operating officer.

Kunselman, Hynd and James Lentini, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost were in favor of creating the position and consolidating the human resource employees.

Robinson was the only board member who didn’t approve the budget, as he was opposed to the creation of the chief human resources officer position.

The board also approved a campus master plan that proposed 36 campus construction projects for the future of OU. Most of the projects were designed to stay in the academic part of campus, filling in the gaps with an amphitheater behind Elliott Tower, more parking, more dorms and a parking garage and student center complex where P1 is now. The stated goal is to turn OU into an urban campus.

While most of these projects are for the distant future, some are already in the works, including the OC renovation; new dorm on the South side of campus; renovations to Anibal, Fitzgerald and Pryale houses; an addition to Elliott Hall for the School of Business and renovations to the Lepely Center.