ASHLAND, Ore. -- Southern Oregon University's tuition will be more expensive for the 2019-2020 school year. It will increase between five percent and 13.5 percent. The SOU Board of Trustees said the exact amount depends on if a student is a resident or a nonresident and the Oregon legislature’s budget for higher education.
According to the Board of Trustees, a resident undergraduate student's tuition is expected to increase between 8.5 to 13.5 percent. That amounts to $15 to $23 per credit hour. Based on a student taking 15 credits per term, that totals to $675 to $1,035.
A nonresident undergraduate student can expect their tuition to increase five percent. That amounts to $26 per credit hour which comes to $1,170.
Environmental Studies sophomore Turtle McCloskey is putting herself through SOU.
"I have a lot of financial aid through scholarships that I apply for every year," McCloskey said. "The amount that I have to pay out of pocket is between $1,500 and $2,000 every quarter."
In order to afford that amount every quarter and to finish debt-free (without taking out student loans), she works four jobs.
"It's a lot. Sometimes the cost of credits limits how much I can take. My scholarships only cover up to 15 credits. If I want to take more, it's out of pocket and then it ends up being $3,000. I can't do that. No matter how hard I work, I can't pay that off."
Thursday afternoon, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to accept the university president's recommendation to raise tuition for the next school year. The Board said one of the reasons for the increase is the rising cost of supporting the Public Employee Retirement System or PERS. The exact amount of the tuition increase will depend on how much the Oregon legislature contributes to all seven public universities in the Public University Support Fund.
"For every $20 million that the legislature adds to the Public University Support Fund, SOU will be able to reduce our per credit charge by $2,"said SOU President Linda Schott.
Every board member in the room said they didn't want to raise tuition but said it had to be done in order to maintain SOU.
"You know you are going to make it a little more difficult for the most vulnerable students and that's why we try to emphasize let's keep the access as high as it can be and keep it as affordable as it can be," added SOU Board of Trustees Chair Lyn Hennion.
State legislatures will not make the final decisions on the state budget until early July. Until then, students will not know how much they will pay in tuition for the 2019-2020 school year.