Tuition Rises Statewide

Temilade Adelusi
Staff Writer

Cameron University administration has increased tuition by seven percent for the FY2017 academic year.

The tuition increase, which took effect in August, was the administration’s response to Oklahoma state budget reductions.

Cameron University President Dr. John McArthur said the increase in tuition is one of the many changes Cameron has implemented.

“Cameron’s budget from the state of Oklahoma was reduced by $3.35 million,” McArthur said, “so we have tried to address that internally.

“We have merged some schools and departments, [and we] reduced the number of faculty and staff. That’s how we handled the great majority of the reductions.”

McArthur said the decision to let go of faculty and staff was very difficult.

“They did nothing wrong,” he said. “We just don’t have enough money to pay them.”

According to McArthur, the choice to raise tuition was also not easy, and it was the last action he desired to take in the wake of the budget crisis.

However, he decided to raise it because if the university lost more faculty, then the quality of a Cameron education could be affected.

He said the students’ responses to the increase in tuition have been diverse, and “some of our students … saw it coming” while others might not be able to afford to pay for classes.

The hike in tuition has not only affected students at Cameron but also students all over the state of Oklahoma.

In a post online, Brian Hardzinski of National Public Radio Station NGOU quoted University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) President Don Betz, who voiced his concern for higher education institutions that are financially burdened.

“UCO President Don Betz said the shift in the higher education burden from the states to the schools shows an inability to identify priorities,” Hardzinski said. “[Betz also said] continuing to cut from higher education would eventually lead to a system that’s no longer sustainable.”

McArthur said the reduction of the state’s financial support for education will remain a concern.

Despite academic reorganization and hikes in tuition, McArthur has put into place other ways of offsetting costs for students, such as scholarships.

For example, Cameron has set aside about $5.6 million this year for scholarship and waivers.

“Also, we had over a quarter million dollars’ in gifts from people in the community,” he said. “A few weeks ago someone called and gifted $150,000 just to provide scholarships.

“I think the community is with you, and they want to see you succeed.”

According to McArthur, Cameron University is still the second least expensive higher education institution in Oklahoma.

He said students can be encouraged by the fact that a Cameron education is still a great investment.

“College graduates in this country, over the course of their lifetime, usually earn over a million dollars than those who don’t [attend college],” he said, “so an investment of $30,000 and four or five years of your time for a potential to earn over a million dollars is worth it.”

For more information about the new initiatives and budget, visit www.cameron.edu/transparency.

To view copies of CU’s Plan 2018 and Master Plan 2025, visit www.cameron.edu/president.

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