HECC do-over yields 7-1 vote in favor of UO tuition increase.

It’s official:

Dear University of Oregon community members,

Today the Higher Education Coordinating Commission reconsidered and approved the University of Oregon’s resident undergraduate tuition plan for the 2017-18 academic year. This decision allows the university to move forward with certainty and a well-thought-out plan for managing our finances.

I am extremely grateful to the commissioners for reversing their initial decision on our tuition plan. We appreciate that they were willing to reassess information about our tuition-setting process, our engagement with students and other campus stakeholders, and the untenable cuts to programs and student services we would have had to make without this source of funding. I am already actively working to improve these outreach and collaboration processes with various campus constituencies for next year, although we hope not to be faced with the same financial choices as this year.

As I have said many times, no one wants to increase tuition. The unfortunate fact is that decades of declining state support, coupled with increased expenses, has left us with very little choice. Even with the HECC’s approval of our plan, we have many difficult decisions ahead. The university has already identified $4.5 million in cuts, and an ad hoc advisory budget committee will be identifying another approximately $4 million in reductions or new revenue sources to close our funding gap.

I want to thank the many people who participated in this tuition setting process. These are challenging financial times for the university and the state. But we cannot be deterred. These constraints challenge us to find better ways to meet our educational mission and deliver outstanding student experiences. We must focus and think strategically about our priorities, and ensure that we efficiently and carefully spend every precious dollar we receive from students and their families, tax payers, and our donors.

We are up to the challenge, and I remain ever focused on making the University of Oregon the very best it can be.

Sincerely,

Michael Schill
President and Professor of Law

May 25 update: From the RG’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/registerguard

I think PSU passed unanimously, and UO was 7-1. The opposing HECC member seemed to be concerned about a perceived lack of racial and ethnic diversity at UO.

May 15 2017: OSU reveals UO’s next steps on OSA/HECC’s rejection of tuition increase

Here’s the latest from UO’s government and community relation’s office, courtesy of “Around the O”:

Cute, but not very informative and way out-of-date. If you’re looking for substance on what UO will do next, try OSU:

From: “Mills, Jock” <Jock.Mills@oregonstate.edu>
Subject: [Government_Relations_Update] May Salem Update
Date: May 15, 2017 at 4:28:05 PM PDT
To: “‘government_relations_update@lists.oregonstate.edu‘” <government_relations_update@lists.oregonstate.edu>

… Last week, the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) approved requests for resident, undergraduate tuition increases above 5% for Western Oregon University, Oregon Tech, and Southern Oregon University. HECC did not approve requests from Portland State University and the University of Oregon. Those universities are in conversation with HECC staff and the Commission about reconsidering the votes by which HECC denied those requests. If at least five of the voting Commissioners agree to provide approval, the HECC will convene a meeting within the next two weeks to reconsider the votes. The Oregon Student Association (OSA) had a strong presence at the HECC meeting and disrupted the meeting briefly during Commission deliberations. OSA has signaled that it would continue to oppose requests for tuition increases but that their focus will generally shift to the Legislature and the need for increased revenue. To that end, OSA is planning on phone banking on May 17 and holding lobby days on May 24 and June 6 with SEIU and other partners. …

Full report below the break:

Continue reading

Dysfunctional HECC now wants UO & PSU to beg for tuition increases

Update: OPB’s Rob Manning reports on the latest from the HECC, here:

… HECC commissioners were critical of the large universities, suggesting they had not done enough outreach to affected groups, like students.

One commissioner also suggested that by rejecting tuition hikes it would send a message to state lawmakers that more funding is needed for public universities.

… In a statement released Thursday night after the meeting, HECC executive director Ben Cannon signaled an expectation the big public universities would come back to the commission to make their arguments again.

Meanwhile, InsideHigherEd reports that UO’s old friend, former OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner, will soon be available to help out the HECC:

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association has hired Robert E. Anderson to be its new president, beginning in August. He will replace George Pernsteiner, who has led the group for four years.

5/12/2017: Pres Schill responds to HECC’s denial of tuition increase

Dear University of Oregon community members,

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s decision yesterday to reject the University of Oregon’s tuition plan is disappointing and creates uncertainty on our campus. If it stands, we will be forced to make even deeper cuts at the UO than are already anticipated, including cuts that will likely affect student support services, academic programs, and jobs. While we would like the HECC to reconsider its vote, we are already evaluating additional budget reduction steps that can be taken if this decision holds and the state does not provide additional support for public higher education.
No one wants to increase tuition, but the university is left with little choice given that tuition is the UO’s main source of revenue after decades of declining state support. Prior to the HECC’s vote, the UO’s tuition plan would have required more than $8 million in budget reductions next year, which would come on top of more than $6 million in cuts made in the previous fiscal year. I have steadfastly expressed my view that we will try to shield the academic part of our university from the impact of this year’s budget cuts, but if we are forced to limit our tuition increase to less than 5 percent, then that aspiration will likely be impossible.

In the face of cost-drivers that institutions do not control—including retirement and health benefit costs—Oregon’s public universities have been clear that significant additional state support for higher education is necessary to keep tuition increases low and to maintain critical student support services. State legislators still have the opportunity this session to approve a higher-education budget that prioritizes Oregon students and their families and makes the proposed tuition increase at the UO and other institutions unnecessary.

The state of Oregon deserves a world-class research institution like the UO. The HECC’s decision to overturn a tuition plan that was reached through months of inclusive campus engagement and careful deliberation by our institutional Board of Trustees, however, threatens our ability to deliver on that promise for all Oregonians. We will continue to work with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to make the case in Salem that cutting higher-education funding and usurping campus independence will lead to untenable outcomes for the UO and all of higher education in Oregon.
As we have said repeatedly, the UO stands ready and willing to provide HECC commissioners with the information they need to reconsider their decision about tuition on our campus. This situation is very fluid and time is of the essence, given that the fiscal year starts on July 1, but you have my commitment that we will communicate with the campus community as we hear more. I appreciate your patience and understanding.

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

5/11/2017: HECC turns down UO’s 10% tuition increase

That’s the bad news from the HECC meeting today. The tuition increase for in-state student tuition will be capped at 4.99%.

The vote on UO was 4-4, and a majority was needed. Will Campbell has a “to be updated” report in the Emerald here.

The docket is here, the official HECC statement is here:

PRESS RELEASE: HECC Takes Action on Public University Tuition Proposals, Approving Increases at OIT, SOU, WOU 

MAY 11, 2017
Contact: Endi Hartigan, Communications Director, Higher Education Coordinating Commission, endi.hartigan@state.or.us, 971-701-4032 cell

Salem, Oregon  — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) voted today at a public meeting in Salem to approve three out of five requests for resident undergraduate in-state tuition increases at Oregon public universities. The Boards of Trustees for Oregon’s seven public universities generally set tuition for their students, but under Oregon law* passed in 2013, HECC is required to determine for the State of Oregon whether any public university proposal for undergraduate in-state tuition and fee increases greater than five percent is appropriate.

Facing significant budget shortfalls in 2017-18, five of Oregon’s seven public universities** proposed 2017-18 tuition and mandatory fee increases above the five percent statutory threshold. These proposals were based on anticipated state funding levels, as described in the Governor’s Recommended Budget for higher education. The Commission’s action today approved proposed tuition increases at Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), Southern Oregon University (SOU), and Western Oregon University (WOU). The proposals for Portland State University (PSU) and University of Oregon (UO) were not approved, in part related to concerns about student involvement in the tuition-setting process. Both PSU and UO fell one vote short of the five Commissioner votes required for passage. The vote followed nearly four hours of public testimony from students and other stakeholders over the last two days of Commission meetings, as well as vigorous discussion among the Commissioners.

Institution ApprovedTuition Increase**
OIT 7.42%
OIT-Wilsonville 8.08%
SOU 11.43%
WOU* 7.45%
Institution Not Approved
PSU 8.37%
UO 11.48%
*=Weighted Average Increase
**Resident undergraduate tuition and mandatory enrollment fee

Cognizant of the precedent-setting nature of its action, the Commission’s votes followed a careful evaluation of the universities’ requests against a set of criteria substantially shaped by Governor Kate Brown, who on April 10, 2017 issued a letter to HECC Commission Chair Neil Bryant detailing conditions for tuition approval. In her letter, the Governor expressed concern for whether universities gave serious consideration to alternatives, how tuition increases would impact underrepresented students, how they would be balanced with institutional cost-saving measures or cuts, the degree to which students and faculty were involved in tuition-setting processes on campuses, whether additional state funding would reduce these tuition levels.

Institutions prepared detailed responses about how they satisfied these concerns; those responses, along with HECC staff analyses are available on the HECC website under materials for the May 10 and 11 public meetings here. The Chairs of the Boards of Trustees of all five universities joined senior university administrators before a HECC subcommittee on May 10 to personally attest to how they met the Governor’s conditions.

Neil Bryant, Chair of the HECC, said, “This was an unprecedented scenario for our Commission, as Oregon faces stark challenges in higher education funding. We appreciated the Governor’s student and equity-focused vision, which we share, and her clear criteria, which reinforced HECC priorities. The fact that universities are committed to reducing tuition increases should the Legislature provide additional state funding was an especially important consideration to the Commission. Although the Commission did not approve the UO and PSU proposals, we are committed to supporting the institutions in every way we can on next steps.”

The Commission’s discussion focused heavily on the insufficiency of state higher education funding levels, which has a direct impact on tuition. A recent national report on higher education funding showed that while Oregon made significant investments in 2015, this was in the context of many years of underfunding. Oregon still ranks substantially low (37th) for educational appropriations per student, and has seen some of the steepest reductions in the country since before the 2008 Recession.

Ben Cannon, executive director of the HECC, said, “Our Commissioners were faced today with the same unwelcome dilemma that has tested university Boards of Trustees: namely, the gap between steadily rising costs and flat state funding levels. Under these circumstances, the Commission concluded that the proposed increases represent the ‘least bad’ option for WOU, SOU, and OIT. We look forward to hearing how UO and PSU intend to either adjust their tuition proposals or present additional information to the HECC that could result in reconsideration.”

In their remarks, Commissioners expressed appreciation for the institutions, students, agency staff, and all who testified and contributed to the public process. Commission Chair Neil Bryant said, “I commend all public testimony, both pro and con, concerning the tuition increases. The HECC understands the tremendous burden that is placed on students and their families and is committed to supporting additional funding to reduce tuition.”

Under Oregon law, UO and PSU will need to do one of the following before finalizing their 2017-18 tuition rates for resident undergraduate students: 1) Modify their plan such that it falls below the 5% increase threshold requiring HECC approval, 2) Receive approval from the HECC for a modified or resubmitted proposal that is at a level of 5% or greater, or 3) Receive approval from the Legislative Assembly for a tuition increase greater than 5%.

*ORS 352.087(1)(i) and ORS 352.102(4).
**Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and Oregon State University (OSU) did not seek HECC approval, as their boards approved tuition increases of less than five percent.

The HECC is dedicated to fostering and sustaining the best, most rewarding pathways to opportunity and success for all Oregonians through an accessible, affordable and coordinated network for educational achievement beyond high school. For more information, go to www.Oregon.gov/HigherEd

More here:

AGENDA
2.0 DRAFT March 8, 2017 Minutes
4.0 2017-19 Community College Strategic Fund
5.0 Community College Support Fund Distribution: Growth Management
6.0a Public University Support Fund Distribution: Overview of SSCM Model
6.0b SSCM Funding Model Overview presentation
6.0c SSCM Summary
6.0d SSCM Calculation Map
7.0a Public University Tuition and Fee Increase Requests
7.0b UO Tuition & Fee Increase HECC summary
7.0c UO Tuition & Fee Institutional Board Packet
7.0d PSU Tuition & Fee Increase HECC summary
7.0e PSU Tuition & Fee Institutional Board Packet
7.0f PSU Tuition & Fee Institutional Finance Committee Packet
7.0g Letter from Governor Brown to HECC re  tuition increases

President Schill proposes $945 per year tuition increase + $150 tech fee

An excerpt from Pres Schill’s letter:

As I have already noted, we will do everything we can to shield our most vulnerable
students from the impact of this proposed tuition increase. The PathwayOregon
program continues to provide full tuition and fees to about 2,000 Pell Grant–eligible
resident students on our campus, including more than a third of our first-year resident
students. [UOM: Thanks in part to the generosity of Trustee Connie Ballmer.]
We have also made significant progress toward achieving the goals set when
we announced the Oregon Commitment in 2015, which provides advising, planning,
and academic resources to help every student at the university graduate in a timely
fashion. To every extent possible, we intend to maintain the integrity of those important
efforts.

TFAB report here: http://ir.uoregon.edu/sites/ir.uoregon.edu/files/TFAB_Memo_2-9-17.pdf. They are reporting the following cost increases:

Despite that $11M salary increase – a good chunk of which goes to upper administrators – UO faculty pay is getting worse, relative to our comparators:

For 2015-16, UO Assistant profs averaged 94% of AAU public university salaries, Associates 95%, Fulls 87%. That’s down from 95%, 98%, and 89% the year before. So UO is not going to be able to maintain “excellence” without more money.

No differential tuition for B-School this year, and the in-state tuition increases will be bought down if the legislature coughs up more money:

Full text of the letter:

To University of Oregon community members,

Pursuant to university policy, the provost and I have received the recommendations of
the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board (TFAB), a body containing students,
administrators, and members of the faculty and staff. Among the recommendations is an
increase in tuition of $21 per credit hour—or $945 per year—for in-state undergraduate
students. The TFAB recommends the same increase for out-of-state undergraduates
students of $21 per credit hour, or $945 annually. For the 2017–18 academic year, this
equates to a 10.6 percent increase in undergraduate tuition for in-state students and a 3
percent increase for out-of-state students. The TFAB also recommended various tuition
increases for graduate tuition and a new technology fee of $50 per term.

I regret that I have little choice but to accept the TFAB recommendations on tuition and
fees for next year. Pursuant to university policy, I am posting the TFAB
recommendations together with this memorandum for public comment. After receiving
public input, I will forward my final tuition recommendation to the UO Board of
Trustees for consideration at its next regular meeting on March 2–3.

I wish it were not necessary for us to increase tuition by these significant amounts.
Although the vast majority of our lowest-income students will be spared from this
increase by the PathwayOregon scholarship program, for some students a $945 increase
will make attending the UO difficult or impossible. Yet the state’s fiscal problems leave
us no choice. Oregon’s disinvestment in higher education over more than two decades
has shifted the burden of paying for college from the state to our students and families.
In 2015, the state made some positive moves toward addressing this trend with an
increase in funding, which was greatly appreciated. The governor’s recommended
budget, however, keeping funding flat over the next biennium in the face of rapidly
rising costs, returns us to the previous status quo of disinvestment.

Only four other states in the nation provide less funding per student for higher
education than Oregon. That is simply unacceptable. Public universities in Oregon have
calculated that it would take at least an additional $100 million in state support for
public higher education to preserve core student services and financial aid. If we
received this amount we would voluntarily limit tuition increases to about 5 percent.
Flat funding may not sound like a reduction, but the university is forecasting very large
cost increases over the next couple of years—largely created by salary increases from
collective bargaining agreements and unfunded retirement costs. These increased costs
amount to roughly $25 million.

Even with the substantial tuition increases recommended by the TFAB, the university
will still need to close an $8.8 million recurring gap in our budget for next year. We
have already begun a process, aided by faculty members, administrators, and students,
to identify how we can create new revenue streams and/or cut expenses. Roughly 80
percent of our educational budget pays the salaries of our faculty, staff, and
administrators. Therefore, any efforts to cut the budget will inevitably lead to a loss of
jobs and pain to our community.

As we move forward, we will strive to protect the academic and research programs of
the university. Our goal will be to continue and accelerate the progress we have seen
over the past couple of years in enhancing excellence in teaching and research,
including investments in faculty hiring, research infrastructure, and support for student
access and success programs. Budget challenges will make this harder and may require
difficult choices, but we cannot and will not take our eyes off the pursuit of excellence
in all that we do at the UO.

As I have already noted, we will do everything we can to shield our most vulnerable
students from the impact of this proposed tuition increase. The PathwayOregon
program continues to provide full tuition and fees to about 2,000 Pell Grant–eligible
resident students on our campus, including more than a third of our first-year resident
students. We have also made significant progress toward achieving the goals set when
we announced the Oregon Commitment in 2015, which provides advising, planning,
and academic resources to help every student at the university graduate in a timely
fashion. To every extent possible, we intend to maintain the integrity of those important
efforts.

It is my hope that we can still avoid raising tuition by more than 10 percent and
reducing our budget through layoffs and attrition. I call on all of our constituents—
students, faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends—to join me in requesting that
the legislature and governor prioritize higher education and stop shifting the cost of
educating our future workforce to our students and their families. Over the next several
months I will be in Salem urging our lawmakers to remember that the future of our state
is being shaped in places like Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland. Please join me in that
effort.

If, collectively, we are successful, we can reduce the tuition increase. The TFAB
recommendation estimates that each $20 million increment in increased state funding
for public higher education would allow the UO to reduce the proposed resident
undergraduate tuition increase by roughly 1 percentage point. The full $100 million in
state support for higher education would result in a 5.1 percent recommended tuition increase
at the UO. Increases of state support would also reduce the operating cuts that
would be needed in the coming year. This would significantly help our students, their
families, and our employees.

Ultimately, we likely will not know how state funding for higher education will shake
out until June or July of this year, which is when state lawmakers historically approve
the budget for the next biennium. I will continue to keep the UO campus community
abreast of changes to our budget situation and the potential impact on the UO campus
as information becomes available.

I invite you to comment on the tuition proposal prior to my making a final
recommendation to the UO Board of Trustees. Please provide input using this form by
5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 17, 2017.

Thank you.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

RG calls on UO to control “appearance of administrative bloat” and limit tuition increases

Today’s editorial here:

… A visible effort by the UO to bring costs under tighter control, however, would influence lawmakers and donors alike. Such an effort could begin by restraining both the number and the salaries of university administrators, which have expanded in tandem over the past decade. No potential supporter of the university, public or private, is pleased by the appearance of administrative bloat. If the UO can project an image of operational efficiency, and can show itself to be focused above all on its classrooms and laboratories, arguments for increased state funding and donor support will become more compelling. …

I’m all for cutting bloat, such as the large buy-outs we’ve been giving incompetent administrators, and while it would be simple to get $10M or so out of the bloated Duck athletic empire, (cut baseball, softball, golf, tennis) the RG has it wrong on the tuition increases.

The focus on the tuition list price is simplistic and the RG editors really should know better than this. UO should be *increasing* the tuition list price, and use the money to increase the discounts that it offers to good low and middle income students. We’ve done this for the lowest income students with PathwayOregon – partly supported with generous donations from UO Trustee Connie Ballmer. Raising tuition would allow increasing the income limit for that program.

Tuition increases can also fund programs to encourage quicker graduation and decrease the dropout rate – as President Schill has already started. Both these projects have the potential to cut the cost of college graduation by far more than tuition limits will do.

A 4-year college degree is an extraordinarily good investment for students. UO’s focus should be on increasing access to those degrees and improving their value, and tuition limits are not a sensible way to do either.

One extra year of college costs students more than a 100% tuition increase

Updated with a letter in the ODE from a variety of student groups raising questions about the administration’s seriousness in consulting them about the tuition increases, here:

University of Oregon campus community,

On Jan. 4, a new term began for most students at the UO, and with that began another round of weekly talks about tuition with the Tuition & Fees Advisory Board. This board is comprised primarily of administrators and faculty, with two students appointed by students and two students appointed by the administration. At the start of the term, guaranteed tuition was off the table for 2016-2017, and administrators presented an increase of 4.7 percent for in-state students and 4.46 percent for out-of-state students. Over the course of the year, if a student were to take an average of 15 credits per term — the required amount for graduation in four years — than this would amount to an increase of about $484 for in-state students and $1,428 for out-of state students per year. Factor in the duration of loan payment and interest rates, and students will be paying this increase back for many years to come.

The student representatives, including the ASUO President Helena Schlegel, opposed this increase and looked forward to negotiating ways to adjust the budget in order to reduce the proposed tuition and fee increases. During the week of Jan. 25, the student participants left the meeting a few minutes early in order to make it to class. The rest of the group came to a consensus about the 4.7 percent increase after the student representatives left.

Both student-nominated representatives were informed on Monday, Feb. 1 that this decision had been made, as well as that all remaining TFAB meetings for the year would be canceled as they were no longer deemed necessary. …

2/7/2016: In response to popular demand I’m posting some info about the tuition increase debate.

The feds make UO post this cost of attendance information:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 8.34.43 PM

But these numbers ignore the biggest component of college costs: the wages students give up by not working. Even for the lowest earning group of college majors – Humanities – the median starting salary was $36,237 last year, according to the NACE:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 8.47.40 PM

So when a student takes 5 instead of 4 years to graduate, it costs them more than would a 100% increase in UO’s out-of-state tuition, or a 300% increase in in-state tuition.

This is the argument Mike Schill made to the Eugene City Club on Friday: let’s make UO cheaper by getting students graduated more quickly, rather than fighting over a 4.7% tuition increase. KVAL has video, here:

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 9.04.41 PM

Last year UO’s students shut down the Trustees meeting with a demonstration over tuition increases. Lillis and Coltrane looked like deer in the headlights. But this year we’ve got a President who is talking sense.

Will the students listen, or demonstrate and shut down the March 3-4 Trustee’s meeting too? Here’s the Daily Emerald’s report, more here. It turns out our students are talking sense too:

Schlegel demanded “The Three Asks,” including a 3.5 percent tuition increase for both resident and non-resident students, University’s support for the corporate tax measure and funding for the Oregon Opportunity Grant.

The “corporate tax measure” is the Better Oregon ballot initiative for a 2.5% tax on corporate sales, which would apparently increase state tax revenue by 25%. The legislature is considering a watered down version, which would still lead to significant increases in state revenue and the likelihood of more state higher education funding.

So surely this legislation is a priority for the UO Board of Trustees? Nope, not even on their list. The only tax increase that UO’s Board of Trustees want is a 1 percentage point increase in the hotel tax, to subsidize a track meet:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.17.11 PM

So it should be an interesting Board meeting.

Strategic Planning Workshop, happening now, 12PM EMU Ballroom

2/17/2015:

Workshop 1: Tuesday, February 17, 12:00 to 2:00pm in the EMU Ballroom

Focus on: Attracting high quality, diverse students and promote student access, retention, and success; Attracting and retaining high quality, diverse faculty and staff; and Enhancing physical and IT infrastructure to ensure academic excellence.

2/17/2015:  Students not impressed with Brad Shelton’s “patronizing” TFAB presentation:

Francesca Fontana has the story in the ODE, here:

… These changes would raise the cost of a student’s credit hour by $7 for residents and $24 for nonresidents. In 2015-2016, the cost of attending UO full-time (45 credits a year) would increase by $315 for residents and $1,080 for nonresidents.

Shelton explained that there would be two increases in costs mandated by the state: a $3.5 million increase in retirement costs and $2.5 million increase health care for employees.

Many students were displeased with the proposed tuition raise. Some held signs that read the salaries for various members of the administration.

One read, “President, $440,004.”

One student in the crowd proposed lowering those salaries, saying that the president of the university earns a higher salary than the president of the Unites States. Barack Obama earns $400,000 per year for his work as commander-in-chief.

Some called for a tuition freeze. Others asked how many tuition dollars paid for lawyer’s fees duringGTFF bargaining or the UO’s pending sexual assault litigation.

Shelton did not present any information on 2014-2015 expenditures. Instead, he directed students to find them online.

2/16/2015: Shelton and Moffitt to propose 3-5% tuition increases, Monday at 2PM:

We’ve obtained a preview of Brad Shelton’s presentation:

Shelton and Moffitt  really don’t want anyone to see the budget information they are using to come up with these proposals:

11/07/2014

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”,on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28.

TFAB Announcement:

Dear students, parents, professors, and community members.

Monday at 2pm is the time to shine. The tuition and fees advisory board will present its suggestions for tuition and fees increases for the upcoming school year. It is your moment to make your voice heard.The meeting takes place at Lawrence 115 (UO campus). 

Spoiler Alert! They’ll propose increases between 3-5%. And they will say a lot of things about labor costs, retirement and how students need to pay for all of this :)

This is why it is very important that you take your thine this Monday and come to this meeting. We need to pack this room. Bring your homework, your grading, a late lunch or an even later breakfast, your arts and crafts projects, but please come! 

This is a great opportunity actually let administrators know how you feel about their spending priorities!!! Take your frustration off the internetzzz and bring it to the meeting. Ask critical questions and voice your concerns. 

Frances Bronet will be there, so will Brad Shelton, Robin Holmes and Jim Brooks.

We are counting on you! 

Here is a link to our Facebook event by SLAP: https://www.facebook.com/events/449959515151966/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

In order to prepare for this meeting…

A.) SLAP is tabling tomorrow from 10-4 at the EMU Amphitheater. They are still looking for volunteers. Please come by and help our!

B.) A student group coalition (ASUO representatives, SLAPers and LESST activists) is meeting at 3pm in the Alsea room (EMU) across from Panda Express – we will work on talking points for the meeting on Monday

C.) SLAP is hosting a work and sign making party this Sunday at 2pm at the ROAR center, please contact colin.worley1@gmail.com for more information

If you have more questions, please contact judithheidilechner@gmail.com

All the best, Judith

Good news for UO: UC system raises tuition

11/20/2014 update: The Chronicle has the story here.

Increased UC tuition and CA living costs will make UO more attractive for Californians. Couple this with the flat or declining Eugene rental rates, driven by the recent boom in city subsidized student apartment buildings and UO will be able to increase out-of-state tuition substantially. And, as explained below, this (and Connie Ballmer’s recent $25M donation for Pathways) will allow UO to increase the “discount rate” it offers to low SES and high ability students.

12/6/2014: UO’s efforts at (price) discrimination praised by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

Continue reading

Hubin wants $475 to release Shelton and Moffitt’s tuition increase docs

UO’s Tuition and Fee Advisory Board has been meeting to develop new tuition and fee proposals to take to the UO Board of Governors (sic) for 2015-16. In March, the UO Board of Trustees relied on the TFAB when making its recommendation on tuition to for 2014-15 to the Oregon legislature, according to this email from Gottfredson:

Tuition and Fees
The trustees unanimously approved a recommendation of no tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students, supported by the legislatively approved tuition buy down. The board did recommend other tuition and fee increases. Prior to the trustees’ action, the tuition proposal was reviewed publicly in the Finance and Facilities Committee and by theTuition and Fee Advisory Board. The trustees are required by law to submit tuition and fee proposals to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) by April 4. The timing of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board recommendation and deadlines of the SBHE, HECC and legislative budgeting requirements, unfortunately, necessitated that the trustees meet during spring break to review the proposals, a schedule which the board hopes to avoid in the future.

This seems like an important matter for a public university to be transparent about.  The TFAB’s website is here:

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 4.53.31 PM

So, let’s get some of the documents they’ve been using at these meetings out to the public: Seems like a simple enough public records request.

Subject: public records request, Tuition and Fee Advisory Board
Date: October 31, 2014 at 4:50:19 PM PDT
Cc: jmoffitt@uoregon.edu, Brad Shelton <shelton@uoregon.edu>
To: Lisa Thornton <pubrec@uoregon.edu>

Dear Ms Thornton:

This is a public records request for any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed (sic) Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present. I ask for a fee waiver on the basis of public interest.

I’m ccing the co-chairs of the board, as they should have this material easily at hand.

Thanks,

Bill Harbaugh
UO Prof of Economics

But no response from VPFA Moffitt or VPR Brad Shelton. A week later, President Coltrane’s Public Records sends me this:

11/07/2014

Dear Mr. Harbaugh:

The University of Oregon has received your public records request for “any documents provided to the Tuition and Feed Advisory Board, from 7/1/2013 to the present”, on 11/04/2014, attached. The office has at least some documents responsive to your request. By this email, the office is providing you with an estimate to respond to your requests.

The office estimates the actual cost of responding to your request to be $474.28. Upon receipt of a check made payable to the University of Oregon for that amount, the office will proceed to locate, copy, and provide the records you have requested that are not exempt from disclosure. Your check may be sent to the attention of Office of Public Records, 6207 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-6207.

The university has received your request for a fee waiver for these records. The decision to waive or reduce fees is discretionary with the public body. After considering your request, the office does not consider that the totality of the circumstances you presented meets the standard for a fee waiver.

… Thank you for contacting us with your request.

Sincerely,

Lisa Thornton
Office of Public Records
University of Oregon
Office of the President

Not exactly the sort of transparency I’ve been hoping for from Coltrane.

UO’s "Cadillac administrative costs"

6/24/2013: Or maybe the preferred nomenclature should be “BMW administrative costs”. Thanks to a reader for the link. More here, this data is from IPEDS and does not count the last year or two of new UO administrative excesses. The last column gives “Institutional support” per student FTE. That is the IPEDS category for central administrative costs.

Trimming UO’s bloated central administration down to OSU levels would save UO 24,000 x $770 = $18.5 million per year, recurring.

And I wonder if we’re counting the $1.83M athlete-only Jaqua tutoring costs under “Academic support”?

More good UO financial news

6/24/2013: Diane Dietz of the RG had a good story on the Eugene student rental market last year, suggesting overbuilding and falling rents for students. (I’d linked to a plagiarized version of this story earlier. Sorry!)

6/23/2013: It’s an open question as to how necessary they were, but the city of Eugene has offered a variety of subsidies for large student-type apartment buildings, around campus and downtown. The 2400 student downtown Capstone project is the big example, but other, smaller projects have added at least as much capacity.

According to Zillow, (click to see their most excellent Eugene data) rents in Eugene are well below the levels in our competitor college towns such as Boulder, Seattle, Phoenix, and LA. In contrast to hose towns, the increase in the supply has kept rents level in Eugene, despite the increase in the number of students. The new construction coming on line this fall may well lead to rent decreases.

Because parents look at the total cost of attendance, this means that UO has plenty of room to continue tuition increases, while staying competitive in the market for out-of-state students.

US Zillow Rent Index

OUS board give UO cops guns, raises UO student’s tuition to pay for them.

6/22/2013: Two stories from Eder Campuzano in the ODE: GunsTuition. How much will the conversion to an armed UOPD cost overall? Frances Dyke told the legislature it would be something like $66K. At one point she told the students and faculty it would save $76K.

Jamie Moffitt won’t explain what happened – she walked out of the meeting where I tried to get an answer – but my quesstimate is closer to $1-$2 million a year in new costs, recurring. The lesson? Never believe the numbers that come out of the VPFA’s office.

In utterly unrelated news, VP for enrollment Roger Thompson has an op-ed in the RG on UO’s efforts to keep college affordable.

Oregon Commentator hears Bean on tuition increases

3/16/2013: What is Jim Bean going to do to justify his last 16 months of feeding at the Johnson Hall sugar tit, at $27K a month? It seems to involve badly organized efforts to try and lobby students to support tuition increases. Nick Ekblad of the OC has the scoop:

Tuition increase as proposed by Jim Bean and Brad Shelton

March 15th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad

I received this email today at 12:35pm, opened it around 2pm and hopped over to the meeting in question:

Just a reminder of the meeting TODAY in Jacqua Auditorium.
“Students are invited to attend a meeting with University Administration to discuss tuition proposals for the 2013-2014 academic year. The meeting is set for Friday, March 15 from 2:00-3:00pm in the Jacqua Center Auditorium. Students are also welcome to provide written feedback anytime before 5:00pm on Monday, March 18th by sending it to VPSA@uoregon.edu.”

Here are my notes:

I thought it was particularly funny that they hosted this in the Jock Box. The projected utility cost per year of the University of Oregon is 18 million dollars and going up one million every year. I chuckled to myself and then the wall behind all those bunched up letters changed colors.  … And finally, the quote of the day, Jim Bean says, “If people cared about education as much as they cared about prisons in this state, legislators would lobby for it.”

James Madison, 1822: "The Tuition is Too Damn High"

I don’t think I know any of them, but congratulations to the “The Tuition is Too Damn High” students. The ODE story on their meeting with Bob Berdahl and Jamie Moffitt here. The RG story is here. It sounds like they asked some informed, tough questions – some of which came from this blog. The statement at the top of this blog is from a letter by James Madison to a Kentucky legislator, congratulating him on that state’s subsidies of higher education:

The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. …

Without such Institutions, the more costly of which can scarcely be provided by individual means, none but the few whose wealth enables them to support their sons abroad can give them the fullest education; and in proportion as this is done, the influence is monopolized which superior information every where possesses….

 A system comprizing the Learned Institutions may be still further recommended to the more indigent class of Citizens by such an arrangement as was reported to the General Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1779, by a Committee appointed to revise laws in order to adapt them to the genius of Republican Government. It made part of a “Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge” that wherever a youth was ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents could not afford, he should be carried forward at the public expence, from seminary to seminary, to the completion of his studies at the highest.

I don’t know what kind of run-around our students got from Berdahl and Moffitt, but if it’s anything like the one Moffitt gave the IAC last year, I suggest they keep digging. And for the sake of UO, I hope Moffitt stops – that athletics hole is deep enough already. 6/8/2012.

The Tuition is Too Damn High

The ODE has the story, with video:

Most of the staff and administrators had cleared out prior to students entering except for President Berdahl himself and a few of his staff. Berdahl spoke with students on why tuition increases needed to be implemented as well as other issues surrounding state funding. Berdahl was successful at easing student frustration by agreeing to a meeting. Berdahl said he would meet with a group of 12-15 students Thursday as long as “it doesn’t turn into a shouting match,” he said.

… “An institutional board that cares about this institution and is committed to this institution and works with the administration, will inspire the confidence of donors about the commitment to excellence this institution has,” Berdahl said. “If we can build our endowment so that there is a lot more financial aid available, and a central part of any capital campaign we have going forward is to raise scholarships.”

I’d have a lot more confidence in the idea of an independent board if the UO Foundation, the closest current equivalent, had a better track record on scholarships and transparency. BTW, The Faculty Pay is Too Damn Low. 6/6/2012.