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.

Yes, tuition to increase

Update: 6/1/2012: Colton Totland reports in the RG that OUS has figured out how to pay for Provost Bean’s beamer and sabbatical, and Pernsteiner’s mortgage too. Still no plan from UO to increase faculty hiring or build new classrooms. Pathetic.

5/30/2012: The ODE reports:

The University will submit it’s proposal for a 6.1 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduates amounting to $459 hike from the 2011-12 academic year. Non-resident undergraduate rates are proposed to raise by only 3.6 percent, but due to a higher base number, the dollar amount is larger landing at a $945 hike on an already expensive $27,653. 

In totally unrelated news BMW announced price increases last month. The costs of taking your family to away games has also shot up, and maid service on an 8,200 sq ft house is never cheap.

Bill Graves has more in the Oregonian, including some tricky stuff on student health insurance fees at PSU. ODE editorial here.

effective giving

9/16/2011: From the RG. This is a very smart gift:

A University of Oregon graduate is donating $5 million to provide scholarships to a group that she says is often overlooked — the children of middle class families.

“I wanted to help Oregonians caught in the middle,” alumna and longtime donor Mary Corrigan Solari said in a written statement. “I have been acutely aware of the many middle class parents who have been struggling to finance their children’s education.”

The Mary Corrigan and Richard Solari Scholarships will be for $5,000 a year, renewable for a maximum of four years. UO undergraduate resident tuition and fees amount to $8,190 this year.

Why not give it to low income students? It’s very hard to give college money to low income students. More precisely, if you give them money the federal government reduces their Pell grants, pretty much dollar for dollar.

There are plenty of middle class kids who are not eligible for the maximum Pell, but who still need help paying for college – the threshold for maximum Pell was ~$40,000 family income, last I looked.

A $5 million endowment means about $200,000 a year, or about 80 of these $5,000 scholarships. (See comments.) Big money. More smart Oregon students will choose to come to UO.

Tuition, more jock stuff, faculty raises.

6/5/2010: The OUS press report on increased tuition and approval of the latest sports project from Phil Knight here. Bill Graves on the tuition increases is here. The Oregonian story by Rachel Bachman on the sports construction is here:

As the clock ticked on Friday’s meeting of the State Board of Higher Education, University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere warned of a chill on donations if the board did not approve a plan by Phil Knight to privately construct an 80,000-square-foot operations center for the Ducks football team on campus. “If we don’t accept this gift, what will be the negative consequences for the university’s education and research mission?” Lariviere said. “Probably not much — immediately, in the short-term. “But they could be really, really profound over the longer term. Really profound. This is an important gift for our future.”

When Lariviere finished his remarks, which came at the end of a nearly one-hour discussion of the project, the board hushed. Then the 12-member body swiftly and approved the project with the minimum six “yes” votes, plus four abstentions and two absentees.

Lariviere’s comments were some of the starkest ever used by a public official in an open forum to illustrate the stakes of the relationship between Knight, the Nike co-founder and former Ducks runner, and his alma mater. …

This latest request came with urgency: The board had to vote on granting a license for the project despite discussing it for the first time on Friday.

“If it’s not approved today, that’s the end of the deal,” Lariviere told the board.

It was the second time a large project backed by Knight came with a quick deadline for public approval. His $100 million pledge to support debt payments for the construction of Matthew Knight Arena was contingent on the Legislature approving $200 million in state bonds for the project by June 1, 2008. That fact came to light on Feb. 9, 2008 — 20 days before the end of the only legislative session that year. 

I hope I’m wrong, but the prospects for faculty pay raises this year seem pretty dim. UO has the money, and Lariviere keeps arguing publicly that we can’t continue to pay 82% of our peers. I am sure this is his “top priority.” But you can only go to the Board so many times and tell them things like “If it’s not approved today, that’s the end of the deal.”

He has been spending his political capital on the $1 billion bond proposal, and now this new athletic construction. Our chance probably passed back in April, when he was busy dealing with Bellotti and Grier. I’m not blaming this on Lariviere – he seems to be doing what he can do. But why does Knight put him on the spot like this? Do this right now, or else! And you will pay for a football museum curator too! It’s just weird.

OUS Board meetings

6/3/2010: The OUS Board typically has one faculty member. The new appointment is Lynda Ciuffetti, Botany and Plant Pathology at OSU. Her research “…is in the area of host-pathogen interactions, specifically, interactions involving fungal pathogens.”  That should give her a lot of extra insight into the OUS Chancellor and Board’s role in Oregon higher education. Interestingly, the current Lariviere restructuring proposal would not put a faculty member on the UO Board.

The OUS Board meets in executive session today, to discuss presidential evaluations. (Wow, UO should try evaluating its administrators someday.) There are plenty of possibilities that could justify a 6 hour board session. I hope one of them is what to do about letting boosters supplement presidential salaries and give them side gifts. Tomorrow they take up two topics of interest:

c.    OUS, 2010-11 Proposed Tuition and Fee Rate and Policy Changes.
Staff is requesting Board approval of proposed OUS tuition and fee rates as well as related policies for the 2010-11 Academic Year.  The RG has a story about these increases here:

… push the annual base cost of an education to $8,190 for resident undergraduates, up from the current $7,428. The difference between those two figures is more than 10 percent. But the actual increase in out-of-pocket costs is close to 6 percent because the UO is taking some fees that are now charged separately and rolling them into tuition.

d.    UO, Approval of License Agreement for (Gift of) an Addition to the Len Casanova Athletic Center and of a Soccer and Lacrosse Complex. The University of Oregon (UO) seeks Board approval to enter into a License Agreement (Agreement) with Phit, LLC (Phit), permitting the construction of improvements to real property with a value in excess of $5 million.

This is another Phil Knight gift to the athletic department. Donations to athletics are still tax-deductible, so this will cost taxpayers ~2.5 million. Some universities would impose their own tax on these sorts of donations, with the proceeds going to academics. Not UO. At least Lariviere is insisting that this time athletics pays for the parking – a small improvement over Frohnmayer’s “Negotiating for Dummies” approach.