The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education may consider raising tuition rates during meetings scheduled for later this month.
eCapitol's Tyler Talley reports Chancellor Glen Johnson said budget cuts that were made during this fiscal year have negatively affected the academic mission and the students at Oklahoma's institutions of higher learning:
"As we move forward, the State Regents and our 25 public colleges and universities will continue our efforts to provide Oklahoma students a quality higher education product at an affordable cost."
The reduction was debated by both sides of the aisle when SB1616 was presented Friday the House last Friday for consideration. House Appropriations and Budget Chair Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, said that there was "no question" that higher education would be forced to raise tuition "substantially."
"I would hope they would use restraint and take a step back and continue to look at their budgets instead of looking at tuition," he said.
During questions on the House floor last Friday, Sears, his chamber's top budget writer, said there are still plenty of avenues for Oklahoma high school graduates to attend college.
"There is no question that any higher education institution will have to look at their budget in regards to making adjustments. No question whatsoever,” Sears said. “To tie this that we're not going to have kids going to college because of this budget we have before us today, and what's in the future, I just...not only do I not accept that. I just won't go there."
The budget bill for the fiscal year that starts July 1 appropriates $810 million to the Regents. That's about a 16 percent decrease from the original FY ‘16 budget. A proposal will be presented to the body during the June 29 meeting in Oklahoma City, with a vote to come on June 30.
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