Undergraduate tuition to rise 5.76%

By Kay Nguyen

Following a 9 percent tuition increase last summer, students will be seeing another hike in tuition this school year because of the projected amount of state appropriations Oakland University will be receiving.

The development was announced at a board of trustees formal session today. The general fund budget was presented by John Beaghan, vice president of finance and administration.

It recommended approximately a 5.76 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, which is equal to an additional $18 cost per credit hour.

Because the Michigan Senate has proposed a possible 3.1 percent decrease in higher education funding, tuition was raised.

“The state budget is not set yet. What’s happening now is that we are expecting a 3.1 percent cut in state funding, ” Dave Groves, assistant director of OU media relations, said. “That’s still going through the legislative process.”

The governor and the Michigan House of Representatives have both proposed no decreases in appropriation.

The general fund budget states that “a tuition increase is necessary to protect the core education of Oakland University students.”

The new tuition rates will be in effect for the Fall 2010 semester. Though the tuition raise will occur, the general fund budget does state that a midyear readjustment may occur once the state’s higher education budget for the year is finalized.

“We believe the tuition rates we’ve set reflect a balanced compromise between making the exceptional programs we offer available to a broad cross-section of the community and continuing to ensure that these programs represent the best investment students can make in their future,” said OU President Gary Russi in a statement.

According to supporting documents presented with the budget, OU is ranked eighth among 15 Michigan public universities when it comes to the amount of state funding received.

Last year marked an all-time low: 26 percent of funding for the university came from the state compared to 44 percent in 2002.

Students have seemingly so far reacted negatively since OU announced the development via its Twitter feed.

Twitter comments ranged from “thats just damn ridiculous” to “I love my Alma Mater, but ouch!!!” and “What for?”

OU Student Congress student services director Brett McIsaac came to support OUSC president Brandon Gustafson, who made a speech at the BOT meeting.

The subject of tuition had been brought up at Monday’s OUSC meeting and Gustafson urged the BOT to vote on the budget quickly in order for students to run into less snags when it came to financial aid.

McIsaac, who spoke against last year’s proposed 11 percent tuition increase, supports the decision.

“The proposed decrease in state funding, along with inflation and rising utility costs make this budget a fair one,” said McIsaac. “I agree with (BOT member) Dennis Pawley that raising tuition isn’t fun for anyone, but is a necessary evil.”

OUSC plans on holding a forum regarding the tuition increase and hopes to have Beaghan attend and explain the finer points of the budget.