Tuition increase for PSU undergraduates to be reduced by more than half
Author: Christopher Broderick
Posted: June 12, 2019

A key panel of the Portland State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved reducing the tuition increase for Oregon undergraduates from 11% to 4.97%.  

The Finance and Administration Committee voted to approve a resolution recommending that the full Board of Trustees adjust PSU’s 2019-20 budget accordingly when the board meets June 20. A 4.97% increase would raise annual tuition and mandatory fees from $9,105 this year to an estimated $9,577 for full-time resident undergraduates starting in the fall. In contrast, an 11% increase would raise tuition and fees to an estimated $10,050.    

The move follows a budget bill moving through the Legislature to increase state funding for higher education. PSU Trustees promised last month in voting for an 11% tuition hike that it would be reduced if lawmakers increased funding for PSU and Oregon’s other six public universities.

The bill, House Bill 5024, hinges on the most recent revenue forecast for the next biennium, which predicts that a strong economy will send more tax money to the state than originally projected.  Under HB5024, the state would spend $837 million spread among the seven public universities over the next two fiscal years.

“We started this year with no increase recommended for state universities,” Acting PSU President Stephen Percy said. “Now, the Legislature has added $100 million, and we are thankful for that additional state investment.”  

Even with that increase, however, it’s not enough state support to avert a tuition increase and budget cuts.

Kevin Reynolds, vice president of Finance and Administration, told the trustees that PSU has to bridge an $18.6 million shortfall next year to continue current service levels, cover projected increases in employee salaries and benefits and other expenses. Balancing the budget includes the tuition increase, additional state funding and cuts of up to 2% across the university.  

All seven public universities are proposing to raise tuition for the fall even with additional state funding under HB5024. Annual tuition and fees at PSU are expected to remain more than $2,500 lower than University of Oregon and Oregon State University next fall once final tuition rates are set statewide in the coming weeks for full-time resident undergraduates.

The committee also recommended that the full board approve an operating  budget for next fiscal year that would include $1.5 million for new strategic investments in campus safety, staffing a transfer student success center and increased staffing and support for financial aid services and the campus Disability Resource Center that serves students who need a wide range of educational and individual accommodations.