Looking to keep enriching and marketable college education programs accessible to a steadily growing number of students, Oakland University officials have limited a 2010-11 academic year tuition increase for undergraduates to $18 per credit hour, or 5.76 percent.
The decision comes despite significant budgetary challenges tied to the region's struggling economy, the expiration of federal stimulus package support, and the pressure of non-discretionary cost increases associated with running a campus of nearly 19,000-students.
"We believe the tuition rates we've set reflect a balanced compromise between making the exceptional programs we offer available to a broad cross-section of the community and continuing to ensure that these programs represent the best investment students can make in their future," said OU President Gary Russi.
"Our highest priority always is to protect and enhance the quality of the instruction we offer, so that students and their families get the best value for their education."
Supporting this effort, the university is maintaining its no-added-fees pricing policy – the only one of its kind among the state's 15 public universities – and boosting financial aid resources by $4.8 million. This 24.8 percent increase helps to provide a 53 percent discount to well over half of OU's undergraduate students. These factors, combined with a total, out-of-pocket cost to students that falls below the state average, keep Oakland among Michigan's most affordable universities.
"We've worked for more than a decade to create lean business operations, and total cost savings of more than $39 million have made OU one of the most efficiently run universities in the state," Russi explained.
"What this means is that more and more students are able to enroll at Oakland, and we fully expect they'll use the knowledge and skills they acquire to help rebuild and transform the economy of southeastern Michigan and the state as a whole."
Enrollment figures indicate that the great value of an OU degree is not lost on its student population, which has been growing at a record pace for 12 years running. Oakland has garnered national recognition and accreditation for the 134 undergraduate and 117 graduate programs it now offers, and the historic opening of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine adds significantly to the momentum of this success.
Committed to keeping an OU education an exceptional value, university leaders acknowledged that any tuition increase presents a challenge for students.
"Days and nights and hours and hours have gone into trying to keep tuition low for our students and their families," said Board of Trustees Chair Henry Baskin. "It's with great pain that we have come to this time."
Noting that Oakland receives the second lowest level of state funding per student among Michigan's 15 public universities, Baskin urged students, their families and OU supporters to ask their state legislators to implement a more balanced appropriation of higher education funding.
Oakland's 2010-11 tuition rate for full-time, undergraduate students has been set at $9,716. Graduate students will pay $12,972, which represents an increase of $30 per credit hour, or 5.77 percent. University officials note that any state revenue cuts greater than currently projected could necessitate further budget adjustments and/or a tuition increase later in the year.
To learn more about an Oakland University education, prospective students and their families are encouraged to visit oakland.edu/affordable