Tuition will not change next academic year, but some fees will increase.
President Robert Henry announced the board of trustee’s final tuition and fee decisions in an Oct. 27 email to the campus community.
It is the fourth consecutive year officials kept tuition rates the same. Fee changes will go into effect at the beginning of summer.
The increases are to university fees by $10 per credit hour, to meal plans by 6 percent and to selected housing rates.
Renovated rooms in Walker, Banning and Draper halls will increase by 10 percent, and efficiency single rooms in Cokesbury Court Apartments will increase by 1 percent.
Kevin Windholz, vice president for enrollment management, said the revenue will cover regular expenses like utilities.
“We also want to be able to add new services for students,” Windholz said. “This decision does that while having minimal impact on students. It also keeps our tuition prices competitive.”
Commuter and Cokesbury meal plans will remain the same price.
Increased university fees will not apply to students in the physician assistant program.
“We are continually striving to improve our student services and to provide a quality living and learning environment, and minimize price increases to our students,” Henry wrote in the email.
Henry wrote that the fees will increase the university’s budget, allowing officials to focus on improvements in housing, technology, and the Aduddell Fitness Center. The list of projected changes are:
– room remodels on the fifth and sixth floors of Walker Hall,
– a room remodel project in Methodist Hall for students with disabilities,
– a new fire panel in Walker Hall,
– boiler system installation for campus housing,
– HVAC replacement for Walker, Smith and Draper halls,
– new equipment in the Aduddell Fitness Center, and
– improved Wi-Fi in university housing and across campus.
Tiffany van der Merwe, co-chairwoman of the budget committee and professor of dance, said that, when the committee meets each year to discuss fees and tuition, they analyze the previous year’s budget, as well as university income, to estimate potential revenue. Then committee members factor inflation in.
“We have to fill the impact of the cost of inflation, regardless of what we do with the prices,” van der Merwe said. “We had documents that showed various scenarios, raising certain fees or tuition, and we went with the decision that impacted students the least.”
The money from the increased fees will go into operational budgets for future purposes. Spending decisions are based on requests from the campus community, Van der Merwe said.
Abigail Litjens, music theater freshman, said the reasons for the fee increases still seem vague.
“I keep hearing it’s ‘worth it,’ but I think it’s unfair to tell us that they’re raising the cost without telling us why,” Litjens said.
Laura Jardine, biology senior, said it’s reasonable for students to expect increasing costs.
“I have friends at other schools whose budgets have been wrecked because of crazy tuition and fee increases,” Jardine said. “Fortunately, OCU is pretty good about doing things gradually.”
Henry was unavailable for comment Monday.
Contributing: Photo Editor Elina Moon and News Editor Zoe Travers