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OSU president to ask for higher fees


STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Some Oklahoma State University students could see fees increased to more than $500 in the fall, the school's new president warns.

``I intend to be straightforward with our students,'' Oklahoma State University President David Schmidly wrote in an open letter to students.

Schmidly said he will ask the school's regents on Friday to approve a fee of $7.50 per credit hour for incoming freshmen. Other proposed fees include $3 per credit hour more in the technology fee, $2 per credit hour for a career services fee and $3 per credit hour to provide electronic access to the library.

The increases could mean $515 annually for freshmen and $290 a year for current students.

The Legislature limits how much regents can raise tuition, so schools across the state often raise fees instead.

Schmidly told students that if tuition is raised _ in addition to the fees _ by as much as 20 percent by next fall, a lower division undergraduate taking 30 hours could expect to pay $418 more.

The state's colleges and universities have seen $50 million less in funding because of Oklahoma's budget crisis.

A bill by Rep. Bill Nations, chairman of the House Education Committee, would allow OSU and the University of Oklahoma to raise tuition up to the average of what the Big 12 Conference schools charge without getting permission from the Legislature.

The measure proposes that other Oklahoma colleges could raise their tuition to amounts similar to comparable states.

``Raising tuition by 20 percent would take us fairly close to the Big 12 average,'' said Natalea Watkins, communications vice president at Oklahoma State.

Lawmakers have allowed the regents to raise tuition by 7 percent annually for instate students, and 9 percent for out of state.

If the OSU regents approve increases on Friday, the recommendations will be forwarded to the State Regents for Higher Education.
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