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Portland Business Journal: PSU lowers proposed tuition increase from 11 percent to 4 percent
Author: Hannah Sievert
Posted: June 13, 2019

To read the original story, visit Portland Business Journal.

Portland State University is backing off of plans to raise tuition by 11 percent.

On Wednesday, the PSU Board of Trustees' finance and administration committee approved a resolution to lower a proposed tuition rate increase from 11.11 percent to 4.97 percent for the 2019-20 academic year. The proposal for the new rate will go to the full board for final approval next week.

The 4.97 percent increase would raise tuition from $9,105 this year to $9,577 in the fall. The earlier proposal would have raised tuition and student fees to $10,050.

The lower rate is a result of the board expecting Oregon lawmakers to increase state funding for higher education. House Bill 5024 would provide $837 million to public universities — $100 million more than Gov. Kate Brown’s proposed budget.

The increase in state funding would not be enough for the university to avoid budget cuts entirely. Kevin Reynolds, vice president of finance and administration, said that PSU has a shortfall of $18.6 million for all current university needs.

To balance the budget, the university would have increase tuition and cut costs by 2 percent across the university.

Any increase in tuition above 5 percent needs approval by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). With a tuition increase below 5 percent, PSU wouldn't have to meet with the HECC this year, but it might need to in the next few years.

“You're only allowed to go to the HECC once every biennium, so we think this is not the time for us right now,” said acting PSU President Stephen Percy during Wednesday's meeting. “But with better knowledge next year, and understanding of cost drivers, perhaps better estimates of our tuition and our residency and people enrolled, that would be a better time to do that.”

University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology and Southern Oregon University will all meet with the HECC on Thursday to review their own proposed tuition increases of 9.7 percent, 9 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.