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STATE Regents approve higher ed budget

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A $1.37 billion budget has been approved for fiscal year 2002 by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The operating budget, approved on Friday, includes a 7 percent tuition increase for Oklahoma's 25 public colleges and universities and two higher-learning centers.

The budget includes $860.6 million in state appropriations, a 5.4 percent increase. The increase includes $27.6 million in new appropriations and $16.8 million to help colleges and universities pay for skyrocketing utility bills and play catch-up with an endowed chair program, said Maryanne Maletz, vice chancellor for budget and finance.

The record budget includes a 7 percent tuition increase for resident students and a 9 percent increase for nonresidents. Most of Oklahoma's professional schools raised their tuition 10 percent and 15 percent, respectively, for resident and nonresident students.

Legislation passed this year allows regents to raise in-state tuition up to 7 percent a year for the next five years.

Most schools are expected to take advantage of the new law and increase their tuition by the maximum amount the first year.

Tuition increases over the next five years would move Oklahoma from the bottom of the Big 12 to about the middle in the amount charged for college courses. Federal grants and loans will be increased to help college students meet increased costs, regents Chairman Leonard Eaton said.

The budget includes about $2.5 million _ a 23.8 percent increase _ in state funding for OSU-Tulsa as part of the restructuring for the four-school consortium from which it sprang.

University of Oklahoma health science programs in Tulsa received about $900,000 in additional funding, and the OU-OSU Research and Graduate Education Center will receive $250,000 more.

The Center of Excellence in Information Technology and Telecommunications, located at OSU-Tulsa, got $1 million as part of a statewide initiative to fund technology programs.

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