For the first time since 2009-2010, Southeastern Oklahoma State University will not be increasing its tuition rates.
The university is also holding the line on mandatory costs and room and board with no increases. The university’s current budgeting and financial condition has been positively impacted by a recent upswing in enrollment and student credit hours.
“All of the state funding reductions have obviously had a negative impact on higher education in Oklahoma — there is no question about that,’’ Southeastern President Sean Burrage said in a statement provided to the media. “But with that being said, our financial condition at Southeastern is healthier today because of our enrollment growth, along with the difficult decisions and sacrifices the University made over the last four years.
These cost-saving measures include a retirement incentive program, the consolidation/elimination of programs that did not directly impact students, conservative operational spending and furlough days. But it is important to remember that the end result was made possible only by the support and commitment demonstrated by the school’s faculty and staff throughout the process.
“I think this (not raising tuition) sends a clear message to students and parents that we are doing everything possible to keep college both affordable and accessible,” Burrage said. “This is even more important when you consider the fact that more than 50 percent of our graduates each year are first-generation college graduates. As a University, we are very proud to be a part of such a life-changing experience.”
Of the 25 public colleges and universities in Oklahoma, Southeastern is one of only six not raising tuition rates this year.
In the Spring of 2018, enrollment grew 9 percent in head count over the previous year (total of 3,722 students. a seven-year high) and 5.9 percent in student credit hours; graduate student enrollment increased 52.1 percent. This came on the heels of a 6.2 percent increase in enrollment in Fall 2017.
This summer, enrollment is up 36.4 percent in head count and 44 percent in student credit hours. The university is projecting another enrollment increase this fall, based on the continued growth of online graduate programs.
Southeastern’s budget for fiscal year 2019 of $46,614,068 — an increase of $2,122,616 over last year — was recently approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents. This increase will be funded by a projected increase in student credit hours.
The budget includes a new employee benefit in which the university will pay 100 percent of the Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System from the date of employment. This benefit accounts for a large portion of the overall budget increase.
Southeastern will begin fall classes on Aug. 20.