The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

OSU justifies raising tuition and student fees for the 2024-2025 year

Cat Smith

Oregon State University’s Board of Trustees voted to raise tuition and student fees for the next academic year on April 5 to battle increasing costs.

Joe Page, a student member of OSU’s Universal Budget Committee, said that the raise would be an average of 4.91% for undergraduate students varying based on campus and whether you are a continuing student or incoming.

The decision follows a recommendation from the committee to increase the tuition for continuing students by 7.05% and new students by 7.55% and raise financial aid by $11.4 million. 

OSU President Jayathi Murthy recommended the lowest respective raises in tuition considered, 4.55% and 5.05%, with a $9.5 million increase in financial aid.

Student fees will also increase following higher operational costs. One such example is the student health fee, which the meeting agenda lists will increase by 10.99%, as recommended by Counseling and Psychological Services due to increased demand.

But Page said the largest driver of tuition increases this year, as usual, is labor costs.

“The university employs a great number of full-time faculty, many of whom are unionized and collectively bargain for salaries and benefits,” Page said. “Collective bargaining is incredibly important for ensuring our employees are paid a fair and living wage but costs associated with salary increases have to come from somewhere and tuition dollars are the largest portion of our revenue stream.”

The agenda also estimates OSU’s 2024-2025 year inflationary expenses to be 4.21%.

The meeting agenda defines another problem with finances: lack of “funded aid,” which it defines as third party payments covering what students owe. 

“One of OSU’s challenges is that the funded aid available to the university is not as large as at many other public universities,” the agenda states. “The university has prioritized raising private scholarship dollars in the recently launched fundraising campaign and has made a significantly increased commitment to institutional financial aid over the last three years.”

These costs follow an ambitious strategic plan set out by President Murthy, which includes doubling Ecampus enrollment, increasing research spending by almost 30% and increasing tenure-track hiring, as previously reported on by The Daily Barometer.

Some of the associated costs are meant to be covered by the increase in online enrollment, which the meeting agenda estimates to increase by 7.3%. 

The Universal Budget Committee has 19 members, which includes six students and according to the agenda, the group met seven times prior to finalizing its recommendations. 

Still, Kassy Bonanno, the only student member of the board of trustees, was concerned about student input on the matter, OPB reported.

Page said that “while trustees hold a fiduciary responsibility to the university, they also hold a moral obligation to students.” 

Page added that if tuition increases exceeded 5%, the historical threshold, then he would expect to see the board members attempt to renegotiate state funding.

English and creative writing major, Alina Kroll, expressed worry about the raise anyways. 

“It’s already so expensive to be at college here, especially for out-of-state students and people who don’t get scholarships,” Kroll said.

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