Regents approve Northwestern budget for fiscal year 2011

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Regents approve Northwestern budget for fiscal year 2011

July 1, 2010

A nominal increase in tuition and a final allocation of federal stimulus funds will allow Northwestern Oklahoma State University to help offset a decrease in state appropriations for the 2011 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Northwestern’s governing body, the Regional University System of Oklahoma, along with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, approved the school’s budget in meetings last month.

“There are significant challenges with this budget, but the reality is it could have been a whole lot worse,” said Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president. “The State of Oklahoma is facing the worst budget crisis in its history and we knew that additional cuts in state funding were inevitable.

“What was encouraging was the commitment from Gov. (Brad) Henry and the leadership of both the House and Senate to limit cuts to higher education. Many of our local legislators were supportive of this commitment and deserve our sincere appreciation.”

Northwestern’s general operating budget for FY11 is $21,917,089 and reflects a decrease of $525,760 or 5.3 percent in state funding and $716,289 in federal funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Oklahoma has spent all of its remaining ARRA money in preparing the FY11 budget.

Following a year of no increases of tuition and mandatory fees, Northwestern will increase resident tuition rates by 5.5 percent, bringing resident undergraduate tuition and mandatory fee rates to $144.50 per credit hour. For a student taking 30 credit hours per year the increase will amount to $225.

“The decision to increase tuition and fees was a difficult one but was supported by our student leadership as a necessary step to maintain academic quality and provide the necessary level of student support services,” Cunningham said. “We are keenly aware of the impact that any cost increase has on students and families.”

Northwestern requested no increase in tuition and fees for non-resident students in order to bring those rates more in line with other regional universities.

Cunningham said Northwestern will increase its commitment to student scholarships by 6.2 percent and will continue to actively work to raise additional private funds for scholarship support.

As part of its ongoing efforts to control costs, Northwestern and its bookstore operator, Follett Higher Education Group, will implement a textbook rental program that could save students hundreds of dollars per year in textbook costs.

Cunningham noted the upcoming budget year will mark the fourth consecutive year that Northwestern employees will receive no across-the-board salary increase.

“We have some very talented people at Northwestern and I am increasingly concerned about our ability to retain them,” Cunningham said. “Faculty and staff are the heart of any institution and they deserve to be compensated adequately.”