Oklahoma Budget Cuts To Cause Small College Tuition Hikes

Thursday, June 9th 2016, 7:18 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

Smaller Oklahoma colleges say they’ll have to hike tuition prices because of recent state budget cuts.

At Tulsa Community College, they’re proposing a $6 per credit hour increase for resident students.

Out-of-state students will not see that increase.

Wrenetta Arnett is studying solar energy and taking a few classes this summer.

"It was like $3,000 and I'm taking three classes,” Arnett said.

For her and roughly 28,000 students at Tulsa Community College, education is going to cost more this fall.

"Tulsa Community College is boosting tuition cost by just under 5 percent,” TCC Vice President of External Affairs Lauren Brookey said.

Brookey says in 2008, TCC received $38 million from the state. This year the school expects $34 million.

Meanwhile, she says enrollment has increased.

"If we had to compensate for what we're losing in state budget funding for next year, we would have to raise tuition 26 percent, and in fact we're raising it 5 percent,” she said.

She says another way they're saving money avoids hurting the students financially.

“We have reduced our personnel about 200 employees over the last two years,” she said.

But some students are already preparing for the extra expense.

“More Ramen noodles,” Wren said.

Shem Bernache said his “wife stays home takes care of the kids, and so we just do what we have to.”

Connors State College also is proposing tuition increases by $7.93 per credit hour for all students, bringing the total up to $92.25.

Connors State College Interim President Dr. Ron Ramming said since July 1, 2015, the school has reduced 29 positions. He said some of those were reduced through attrition, but others were completely eliminated and employees lost their jobs.

Rogers State University is seeking tuition increases, but isn't sure by how much just yet.

Both Connors and RSU say they expect they also will cut some scholarships. TCC says it's not planning to reduce scholarships.

Oklahoma colleges and universities will propose their budgets to state regents on June 29.

The regents are expected to vote the following day on any increases.