Despite a modest increase, tuition at Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities remains among the lowest in the United States. Oklahoma students will pay an average of $6.68 per credit hour more annually for in-state tuition and mandatory fees in the next academic year.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved today an average 4.7 percent increase to tuition and mandatory fees for the 2013-14 academic year.
Higher education officials cited record enrollments, increased operational costs and prior years of reduced state appropriations as contributing factors to tuition increases.
“Providing our students a quality education at an affordable cost is our top priority, and we continue to meet that goal,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Oklahoma seventh in the nation in college affordability and eighth in higher education efficiency. Further, the Project on Student Success reports that Oklahoma has the eighth lowest student debt in the nation. This minimal increase in tuition and fees will help our institutions meet their mandatory fixed costs while continuing to produce a globally competitive workforce that meets business needs and drives economic development in our state.”
Undergraduate in-state tuition and mandatory fee rates remain unchanged from last academic year at the state’s research universities, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and Tulsa, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman. The State Regents approved OU’s request for a flat-rate plan, which is based on the cost for 15 hours per semester during the 2012-13 academic year.
Other state universities have tuition increases averaging 5.7 percent for in-state undergraduates.
Oklahoma’s community colleges will increase their in-state tuition rates by an average of 5 percent.
To manage record enrollments, reduced state appropriations and increased mandatory operating costs, Oklahoma’s colleges and universities have continued to tighten their belts through cost-saving measures, including energy conversion and conservation, reduction in administrative expenses, and travel and hiring freezes. These initiatives have saved $411 million from 2009-14.
State law requires tuition to stay at levels below the average among comparable institutions, and Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities continue to be well within those limits.
The law also requires the State Regents to make a reasonable effort to increase need-based financial aid across the state system proportionate to any increase in tuition.Oklahoma’s Promise, the state’s signature scholarship program that allows high school students from families whose annual income is $50,000 or less to earn free college tuition, will receive $57 million for FY 2014. Nearly $37 million of the money appropriated by the Legislature for FY 2014 will go toward additional financial aid programs.