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OU Board of Regents approves budget, decision to keep Norman campus tuition, fees unchanged

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University of Oklahoma Interim President Joseph Harroz speaks to the OU Board of Regents June 25.

The OU Board of Regents approved a university budget decrease and a move to keep tuition and fees constant at its Tuesday evening meeting, the first of two meetings this week dealing with OU business.

The regents approved a $2.02 billion university budget for fiscal year 2020, a proposal to keep 2019-20 tuition and fees constant for the Norman campus, a proposal to increase tuition for five professional programs within the OU Health Sciences Center, and an increase for tuition for the OU College of Law.

The meeting and budget approval took place at interim OU President Joseph Harroz’s first OU Board of Regents meeting since his selection.

“This is a budget that balances, it is a budget that makes investment in our mission, and it is an important point from which we can launch further. This is not an ending point, but it’s a point from which we can absolutely advance,” Harroz said. 

According to an OU press release following the budget's approval, the budget also provides a 3 percent salary program on average for eligible Norman staff, as well as compensation for staff at the Health Sciences Center.

In addition to a 2.6% annualized faculty salary increase on the Norman campus from January 2019, according to the release, the budget also incorporates support from the state legislature for another 2.2 percent annualized faculty salary increase on the Norman campus and an annualized increase at the Health Sciences Center. Both are proposed for October.

“We presented to our Board of Regents an annual budget that is financially sound and makes new investments in the pursuit of our University’s mission," Harroz said in the release. "The progress this University has made in the past year is significant and our faculty and staff deserve recognition for their focus and commitment to putting students first as we have worked toward financial health."

The budget approved June 25 is the first time since fiscal year 2005 that a university budget decrease has been made. At the time, the budget decreased from $1.19 billion to $1.066 billion.

The budgets from fiscal years 2016 to 2019 were $1.9 billion, $2 billion, $2.06 billion and $2.12 billion, according to the OU Board of Regents minutes from those years.

Prior to the approval of the proposal to keep 2019-20 Norman campus tuition and fees constant, Norman campus tuition rates had been held constant for the 2018-19 academic year after increasing for the previous three years.

The regents approved the proposed fiscal year 2020 budget and 2019-20 tuition rates after considering Rogers State University and Cameron University business.

“Students are the biggest winner in this year’s budget as we once again held the line on tuition and fee increases," OU Board of Regents Chair Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes said in the release. This was achievable in part because of increased state support. To that end, we are grateful to Governor Stitt and the Legislature for investing in higher education this past session. Additionally, the financial discipline of our administration has produced savings which support our efforts to make sure the excellence of an OU education is accessible and we have the resources necessary to support student success.”

The regents met in Sulphur, where they are holding their annual board retreat. The June 25 meeting will be followed by a June 27 meeting, where the regents will consider other OU business.

Remaining agenda items include program changes, personnel moves, renovation projects and transition of some CART routes to the City of Norman.

The OU Board of Regents meeting was the first since Harroz was selected as interim president May 17. It was also the first meeting since the OU Board of Regents announced that David Boren’s June 12 resignation from all remaining university affiliations meant that the university would no longer continue its Title IX investigation regarding Boren.

This post will be updated with further information from an OU news release sent after the meeting’s conclusion.

This post was updated with further information at 6:06 p.m.

OU Public Affairs updated the quote from Rainbolt-Forbes in the press release at 7:17 p.m. The original quote was replaced with the updated quote at 7:57 p.m.

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Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and summer editor-in-chief of The Daily. Previously he worked as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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