The University of Oklahoma says it will start offering students a flat-rate tuition and mandatory fees this fall.
OU President David Boren announced Thursday that full-time undergraduates taking between 12 and 21 credit hours per semester will pay a rate based on the university's current 15-credit hour rate for tuition and mandatory fees.
House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) says the moratorium is necessary because Oklahoma has raised fees by more than $100 million since 2007. During the recession, it was the easiest way Oklahoma had to raise revenues to fill budget gaps. Increasing taxes in Oklahoma requires a three-fourths supermajority in both houses of the legislature, or a vote of the people.
It's already nearly impossible to raise taxes in Oklahoma. Now, the legislature is poised to ban raising fees for drivers' licenses, state parks and other state services, too. A bill placing a moratorium on fee increases through 2016 has passed both houses of the state legislature.
Rising costs in the justice system still have to be paid for, somehow. It’s the users of the court system, and more specifically the losers, who pay most of those fees, and many question the wisdom of that trend.