Regents Approve FY19 Budget for Northwestern
June 21, 2018
With state appropriations nearly the same as a year ago and the institution still reeling from $2.4 million in cuts to state funding since 2014, Northwestern Oklahoma State University submitted to the Regional University System of Oklahoma its Fiscal Year 2019 budget today.
The budget was unanimously approved by the RUSO regents and now goes to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education next week for final approval.
Northwestern will operate with a budget of $26,571,067, an amount about 2.6 percent more than last year.
Tuition and mandatory fees will increase by 4.9 percent beginning in the fall semester, meaning student will pay $11 more per credit hour. Housing costs will remain the same, but an increase in food costs will cause students on meal plans to pay more.
“Raising tuition and fee rates is a difficult decision because we know how it affects students and families,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “At a small university like Northwestern, where you get to know students on a more personal basis, you fully understand the effects. Operating costs continue to increase and our leaders have chosen to make no significant investment in higher education, so we are left with no good options.
“When you look at total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, room and board) you get the real story of the affordability of Northwestern when compared to other four-year universities, especially those in surrounding states.”
Cunningham said smaller universities like Northwestern have been hit particularly hard by state funding cuts. In just the past five years, state funding as a percentage of Northwestern’s general budget has dropped from 40.1 to 30.1 percent.
“Large flagship universities with large endowments and numerous sources of external funding can absorb better state funding cuts,” she added. “We trimmed the fat a long time ago. We have a responsibility to offer academic and student services at the highest possible level. Our students deserve the best education we can give them.”
Supporting that argument is the fact that more than 82 percent of expenditures are investments in instruction, scholarships, student services and academic support. Only 6.3 percent of the general budget is allocated to administration and institutional support.
Looking forward, administrators are concerned that state appropriations could be threatened by petition challenges to the state funding. Without replacement funding, mid-year cuts to agencies are expected.
“The petition initiative is the proverbial elephant in the room,” Cunningham said. “If new sources of revenue are interrupted and no new revenue sources are identified, then we’ll be faced with a whole new set of challenges.”
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