Tuition increase offers additional need-based financial aid, upcoming budget to cover inflation costs

Member+of+the+board+of+trustees+can+be+seen+at+their+meeting+on+April+8++in+the+Horizon+Room+of+the+Memorial+Union.+The+board+approved+a+tuition+increase+for+the+2022-23+academic+year%2C+though+more+financial+aid+will+also+be+offered+to+students+to+help+with+the+increased+inflation.

Chris Keiper, Photographer

Member of the board of trustees can be seen at their meeting on April 8 in the Horizon Room of the Memorial Union. The board approved a tuition increase for the 2022-23 academic year, though more financial aid will also be offered to students to help with the increased inflation.

Lara Rivera, News Contributor

Oregon State University will offer more financial aid to students after approving a tuition increase for the 2022-23 academic year.

In a Board of Trustees meeting on April 8, the board approved a tuition increase of 3.5% for continuing Oregon-resident and out-of-state students and 4.5% for new Oregon-resident and out-of-state students. 

Continuing students will see this change in summer of 2022 or fall of 2022 if they are not enrolled for the summer term, said Steve Clark, vice president of University Relations and Marketing. 

According to Sherman Bloomer, associate vice president of budget and resource planning, financial aid strategy is adding another $11 million of institutional financial aid for a total of about $84 million, which is more than double what it was in the years before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About half of this financial aid, Bloomer said, is going towards supporting the Western Undergraduate Exchange strategy, which will bring more non-resident students. The other half will be used to regain Oregon-resident students with high needs.

The net costs that students will pay out of pocket depend greatly on where the students and their families stand on the need curve. 

Jax Richards, a board member and OSU undergraduate student, asked a clarifying question about whether the financial aid is merit-based or financial need-based. 

Bloomer clarified that financial aid is a mixture of merit- and need-based aid, and that part of the new revised strategy is to intentionally shift more aid back to need-based aid.

“When scholarships factor in merit aid, that provides new issues of equitability,” Richards said. “Students that are typically more Meritus oftentimes come from a more privileged background; I say that as a student trustee.”

The building fee is also being raised for the first time in about twenty years by $2. According to Bloomer, the building fee helps student services with a number of upcoming building renewal projects.

According to Bloomer, in early fall, the budget committee started making their projections of enrollment, revenues, expenses and drivers for next year. 

While Bloomer said there has been a steady increase in the E-campus enrollment over the last 10 years, international enrollments have been shrinking since 2017 as well as the resident undergraduate population. During the pandemic, these trends continued. 

Bloomer said the OSU enrollment and revenue are growing, but the net tuition per student is declining. 

For annual budget planning, Bloomer said, this means OSU’s projected revenue growth is going to be enough to cover the cost of inflation, which is somewhere between $20 million to $28 million a year for OSU in Corvallis.

According to Michael Green, board trustee, the budget priorities for next year are to continue to make investments in enrollment management, student success processes and systems. 

The second piece, Green said, is to modernize Oregon State University’s academic and research spaces. 

Green said the third piece is making investments to modernize OSU’s business processes and related administrative systems in order to improve and streamline the experience of students, faculty and staff. Another goal is to reduce the cost of administrative services in the process.

The budget committee’s recommendation was to continue to use cohort pricing, meaning that, for continuing students, the rate of increase is the same as the local rate of inflation depending on the students’ locations in either Corvallis, OSU-Cascades or Ecampus. 

For new students, the increase is higher since they will be attending OSU for a longer time relative to the continuing students. 

Clark said twenty years ago, two-thirds of tuition for public universities was paid by the state, and one-third was paid by the students. Today, Clark said, this has reversed and is a contributing factor in the rise of tuition. 

According to Bloomer, OSU is working on a tuition calculator for incoming students and continuing students that will be ready in about a month. 

“Today’s decision about tuition takes into account student needs, the needs of our faculty and staff,” Clark said. “The initiative to advance student success.”