State higher education panel approves UO tuition plan

President Michael Schill sent the following message to campus following the Higher Education Coordinating Commission’s seven to one vote in support of the UO’s 2017-18 undergraduate tuition plan:

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.