BY TIFFANY MARTINEZ
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (USAO) President John Feaver shared positive thoughts during his elaboration of recent tuition increases.
“We had a 7.2 percent increase in tuition, which will add 13 dollars per credit hour more” Feaver said. “But our tuition rates are still significantly lower than other universities across the state.”
USAO’s drastic increase of tuition and fees falls second to only one other university in the state, Langston University, but Feaver assures much thought went into making this decision. Opinions from the university’s student government representatives were welcomed during the decision process, as well as opinions from the USAO Board.
“No one is particularly in favor of a tuition raise, but they understand why it should be done,” Feaver said.
Seventy-five percent of the increase in fees will go to operational expenses, while 25 percent will be reallocated internally but contribute to salary increases among the faculty. The salary increase, Feaver said, is long overdue because of cutbacks that had to be made in 2009.
“The increase in salary is really a restoration of funds,” Feaver said. “And it will serve as a restoration of morale and good faith for so many teachers that work so hard.”
According to Feaver, the average rate for a student enrolled in 12 hours at USAO is just under $4,000.
The tuition raise is the second of major changes within a 10-year span.
“We are a special kind of institution — a liberal arts school — a school with a one-of-a-kind mission,” Feaver said.
In an effort to maintain their particularity, raise their retention rate and attract the best pupils and professors of the liberal arts world, USAO raised its admission standards in 2006. This move was part of an progressive plan called the Mission Enhancement Plan that Feaver hopes to grow with potential supplementary funds over time.
Mission Enhancement Plan will better the university overall by a $3 million dollar project that will be divvied to the following: Salary increases that will place the faculty of USAO at an even pay range with that of teachers at similar colleges across the country, hiring of extra teachers to begin a mentoring process that will ensure smooth and beneficial university transitions and enrollment management, which will include recruitment and marketing strategies for potential students.
With strategic plans set into place, Feaver essentially hopes to attract more students to the USAO campus.
“We want to grow the university,” Feaver said. “We are at about 900 students right now. We would love to have 1,200 here.”