The Oklahoma State University/A&M Board of Regents today approved the operating budget for the Oklahoma State University system. The total FY 2015 budget is $1.2 billion. The figure includes state appropriations of $241.1 million, which is the same amount of state allocations as last year.
“Oklahoma State is appreciative the Governor and Oklahoma State Legislature continue to recognize the vital role higher education plays in the economic development of our state,” said OSU/A&M Board of Regents Chair Tucker Link “Oklahoma State University continues to work hard to keep a higher education degree affordable and accessible to more Oklahomans.”
The most significant change to the budget is the introduction of block tuition. The new plan is part of OSU’s “Finish in Four” initiative and offers an annual flat rate of $7,442 for tuition and university-wide fees for full-time in-state undergraduate students taking 12 to 18 hours per semester; the out-of-state rate is $20,027. These rates are the same as the cost last year for 15 hours.
“I am pleased the university will be introducing a block tuition model to our students this fall,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “This plan is designed to help students graduate quicker, therefore reducing the total cost of a degree from Oklahoma State University.”
Under the “Finish in Four” plan, completing at least 15 hours of applicable coursework each semester creates a path for students to graduate in four years, which benefits students in several ways:
•Eliminates additional semesters/years of expense for room, board and other costs
•Reduces student loan debt upon graduation
•Allows entry into the workforce earlier
With the transition to a block rate model, tuition and mandatory fee rates for undergraduates at OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa will not increase in 2014-2015, keeping costs among the lowest in the Big 12, as well as housing and dining rates being the most affordable in the conference.
This year’s budget will allow the general university to add 31 faculty positions to address student growth. The university is expecting an increase in enrollment on the OSU-Stillwater campus of 400 undergraduate students for the fall 2014 semester, with a projected total enrollment of more than 26,300.
Based on average student spending, the increase in the student population will generate more than $2 million into the local economy. In addition, increasing the number of faculty positions on the Stillwater campus has a positive impact on housing sales, accounts for additional jobs held by spouses and increases the revenue spent in businesses throughout the community of Stillwater.
The OSU Budget must now receive approval from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.