June 27, 2013
Media Contact: Adrienne Nobles, Assistant Vice President for University Relations, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-2103, email@example.com
UCO’S 2013-14 BUDGET APPROVED BY REGENTS
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Board of Regents for the Regional University System of Oklahoma approved the University of Central Oklahoma’s budget for 2013-14, allowing the university to fill a $2.8 million funding gap from mandatory cost increases.
The majority of those mandatory increases stem from a rise in health insurance and supplemental retirement account costs. The university received $548,100 in new support from the state, which decreased the mandatory increases from $3.3 million.
The budget also includes an increase in student tuition and mandatory fees of $11.50 per credit hour. That means a student taking a full 30-hour course load for the year will pay 95 cents more per day than the previous year. The average UCO student takes a 22-hour load, which equals 70 cents more per day.
A portion of the increase - $3 per credit hour – honors a student body vote in the spring 2012 requesting an increase in the Student Activity Fee. The first half of that increase was added last year.
Central has grown by more than 1,500 students over the past five years, while at the same time, experiencing millions in mandatory cost increases and reductions in state appropriations, and the university’s tuition and fee rate has fallen to 74.4 percent of its OSRHE peer institution group.
Presenting the proposal, UCO President Don Betz, Ph.D., said he is ever mindful of the sacrifices students and their families make to pay for college, indicating that the university has increased the amount of tuition waivers and scholarships received by its students by 90 percent over the past five years.
During fiscal year 2013, the university awarded $9.84 million in total scholarships to students, and the FY 2014 budget will fund a 6.6 percent increase in student tuition waivers.
“Students and families invest in a college education, and it is up to us to ensure a quality return on that investment. We pledge to be good stewards of the hard-earned dollars entrusted to us by not just maintaining the quality of Central degree, but advancing it in the manner expected from Oklahoma’s metropolitan university,” Betz said.
The budget also allows the university to fund a handful of mission-critical positions, including four new faculty, four student success advisers and a police officer. Central also will improve its ability to attract and retain talent, raising underpaid staff members’ salaries to at least 85 percent of the local market rate and faculty salaries to 92 percent of the College and University Professors Association (CUPA) average. Details of the salary program will be available to faculty and staff on July 1.
The university also reclassified 28 former adjunct professors to full time non-tenure track faculty to meet the Affordable Healthcare Act definitions for benefits.
“The quality of the Central experience remains contingent on the quality of our faculty and staff, all of whom have put teaching students first and remained focused during our financial challenges. Compensating that commitment in some way was a top priority of the university’s Budget Task Force.” added Betz.
The UCO Budget Task Force meets throughout the year to determine priorities and prepare the request for next year’s budget. It is comprised of the President’s Cabinet and representatives from the UCO Student Association, UCO Faculty Senate and the Dean’s Council.