Cameron University’s governing board reviewed major university initiatives for the upcoming year and approved an annual budget of over $50 million for Fiscal Year 2015 during its regularly scheduled meeting today in Ardmore. The University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University Board of Regents approved a $50,644,699 operating budget with almost $36 million for student instruction, scholarships and student services during the upcoming academic year.
“Cameron University enters the 2014-15 academic year having completed the first year of the ambitious goals set forth in ‘Plan 2018: Values Driven, Action Oriented,’ the university’s five-year strategic plan,” says President John McArthur. “We are dedicated to the educational, cultural, and economic advancement of the communities we serve, a commitment that was a crucial factor as we crafted a budget that will allow Cameron to continue to provide outstanding academic and student support.”
The FY15 budget reflects Cameron’s commitment to increasing and improving student success and student learning inside and outside the classroom while continuing to be an engaged partner with common education, business, industry, civic and government organizations.
Cameron’s state allocation is $21.7 million, flat from the previous year, while expenditures will increase by 2.8 percent.
Cameron’s administrative expenses at 8.9 percent are both a decrease from FY 2014 and significantly lower than the administrative cost guideline of 13 percent for regional universities established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. This reduction is the result of the continuing commitment to maximize the portion of the budget allocated to instruction, academic support, student services, and to student scholarships and waivers while minimizing the portion of the budget used by administrative departments.
Specific initiatives include partnering with East Central University to provide access to a bachelor level nursing program in Stephens County including the repurposing of existing space at CU–Duncan to provide facilities for science laboratories, continuing initiatives such as “Graduation Starts Today” and “We Want You Back” which are intended to increase the number of students graduating, participation in the Higher Learning Commission’s Persistence and Completion Academy to improve student success and degree attainment, initiating a five-year rotation to review all university policies and procedures to assure appropriate and effective governance, implementing a coordinated assistance plan for students who need financial support to earn credits to graduate in six or fewer years, and enhancing the Office of Career Services by expanding internship and teacher preparation opportunities.
Effective with the Fall 2015 semester, undergraduate resident tuition and mandatory fees will increase 5.6 percent to $178 per credit hour. Even with this increase, Cameron will remain one of the most affordable universities in Oklahoma. Additionally, Cameron compares favorably with universities outside of Oklahoma, charging 19 percent less than its out-of-state peer universities.
Cameron will increase funding for scholarships and other financial support. Resident tuition waivers and university scholarships will increase nine percent from $2,208,100 in academic year 2013-2014 to $2,419,000 in academic year 2014- 2015. Cameron has consistently received national recognition for its commitment to affordability. According to data reported in the U.S. News and World Reports "Best Colleges 2014," Cameron is among the top three percent of 621 like universities across the nation in terms of students graduating with low debt. Specifically, 64 percent of Cameron’s students graduated without any debt in 2012. The University remains committed to maintaining its low debt load among graduates by continuing to offer significant financial assistance to students.
In addition to the increase in scholarship support, Cameron will continue to offer CU $upports You, a comprehensive student assistance program implemented in 2009. Components of CU $upports You include Check It Out Books, displaced worker assistance, the Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans, support for military spouses, and an emergency loan program for students.
June 23, 2014