Oregon State University should find alternatives to raising tuition

Jackie Keating

If there’s one thing Oregon State University can be counted on to do consistently, it’s raising the cost of college.

In February, the tuition and fees subcommittees met several times in order to discuss a new tuition increase that would take place next academic year, starting fall term of 2016. According to their budget plan, “the committee recommends a $4 increase per credit hour from $183 per SCH to $187 per SCH. This is a 2.2 percent increase.”

This doesn’t sound like a lot. But for the many students who have to take out loans each year to pay for their degrees, these annual price increases can prove inconvenient, to say the least.

It’s also interesting to note that when tuition increases were approved for this year, 2015-2016, last March, one of the statements made to put some salve on the situation was that “the board-approved plan actually reduces the credit hour fee for undergraduate Oregon resident students on the Corvallis campus from $189 per credit to $183.”

So the “actually reduced” fee that was celebrated by the OSU Board of Trustees just last year will probably go back up this year.

I want to be clear that I understand that the costs of maintaining our campus and meeting the needs of students is getting costlier, and that—for in-state students at least—the cost of tuition at OSU is comparably inexpensive for the quality of the education offered here.

Despite this, though, there comes a time when the ever-increasing prices raise questions.

For instance, can we go at least one academic year during which prices stay the same?

And more importantly, why is this happening, and is there nowhere that we can curb funding in order to make college more accessible for students?

The answer is yes. Yes, there are places where the money you pay could be cut and your money given back to you. But these are places that university officials don’t want to see cuts.

Let’s take, for instance, the almost 10 percent of the fees you pay that go to athletics, according to an article by Abby Spegman in the Bend Bulletin.

In the article, Steve Clark, the vice president of university relations and marketing, noted that the student section of Reser stadium is paid for by the tuition of the student body. The other part of the fee that goes to athletics “goes to support renovations at Reser,” Spegman wrote in the article.

What I get from this is that it would be possible to scrap the fee that reserves seats in Reser, and have the students who care about athletic events choose to pay for those seats.

There is also the fact that our new football coach, Gary Andersen, was given a contract that sealed him into a $2.45 million salary, as reported in the Oregonian.

And he’s not the only one who was granted an exuberant salary. Our president, Ed Ray, makes around a half-million dollars each year. To his credit, he donated a recent $20,000 raise to student scholarships, but then why give him the raise in the first place?

I’m fine with paying for my education. I just need to make sure that my money is being spent in a fiscally responsible way.

The opinions expressed in Keating’s column do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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