Cameron University initiatives planned and budget approved for 2017-2018

Cameron University’s governing board reviewed major university initiatives for the upcoming year and approved an annual budget of just under $46 million for Fiscal Year 2018 during its regularly scheduled meeting today in Norman. The University of Oklahoma, Cameron University and Rogers State University Board of Regents approved a $45,982,568 operating budget with more than $34 million earmarked for student instruction, academic support, student scholarships and tuition waivers, and student services during the upcoming academic year.

The FY 2018 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 and career education, business, industry, civic and government organizations.

“Cameron University received a significant decrease of $1,074,493 in its state appropriation, and, as happens annually, mandatory costs are expected to increase dramatically,” says President John McArthur. “In spite of the drastic reductions made in personnel and operating costs in FY 17, the continued reduction of state support has resulted in a greater reliance on revenue from student tuition and fees. The significant reduction in the state allocation and Oklahoma’s uncertain economic outlook are two of the University’s primary concerns for FY 2018 and future years.”

Overall, university expenditures will decrease by $506,215 from FY 2017. The decrease is the net result of elimination of three staff positions, a decrease in operating costs, and a decrease in instructional costs with a concerted effort to preserve funding for initiatives to improve student persistence and degree completion. 

Effective with the Fall 2017 semester, undergraduate resident tuition and mandatory fees will increase by $7 per credit hour or 3.5 percent, and nonresident undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees will increase by $10 per credit hour or 2.2 percent. 

To help offset the impact of the tuition increase on students, Cameron will increase funding for scholarships and other financial support. Resident tuition waivers and university scholarships totaling $2,630,000 will be awarded for academic year 2017-2018. The University remains committed to maintaining its low debt load among graduates by continuing to offer expansive financial assistance to students.

The overall average increase in resident tuition and mandatory fees for resident undergraduate students is $210 annually. The overall average increase in nonresident tuition and mandatory fees for nonresident undergraduate students is $300 annually

In comparison to peer institutions in the surrounding states, Cameron’s tuition and fee rates are 84 percent of their rates. Additionally, The College Board reports that the national average for in-state tuition and fees for public, four-year institutions is $9,650 per year. Cameron’s FY 2018 rate of $6,180 for 30 credit hours is considerably less.

Cameron’s administrative expenses at 9.8 percent of all expenses is well below the administrative cost guideline of 13 percent for regional universities established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The university continues its commitment to maximizing the portion of the budget allocated to instruction, academic support, student services, and student scholarships and tuition waivers while minimizing the portion of the budget used by administrative departments.

Initiatives for the academic year are closely aligned with the university core values and ambitious goals in “Plan 2018: Values Driven, Action Oriented.” The initiatives summarized below are grouped by the themes of Access, Affordability, Accountability, Attainment and Engagement.

Cameron will increase access through initiatives aimed at providing high school graduates and transfer students from southwest Oklahoma and beyond the opportunity for a college education, including improved marketing and advertising, expanded outreach for prospective students and improved support for entering students.

Affordability initiatives focus on maintaining quality learning experiences for a modest financial outlay by managing costs and by providing outstanding opportunities for financial assistance. These include increasing student scholarships and tuition waivers by more than $180,000, maintaining competitive tuition and mandatory fee rates, and maintaining competitive housing and board costs for resident students.

Cameron continues to be accountable by ensuring responsible stewardship of university resources on behalf of students, employees and our community, including development and presentation of “Plan 2023,” the next five year strategic plan; increased employee professional development opportunities; and continuing to provide engaging and effective facilities and grounds.

Attainment initiatives are aimed at assisting each student in meeting his or her aspirational educational goals for a degree, certificate or course completion, including the expansion of Reverse Transfer and Articulation Agreements with area schools, and development and implementation of a Next Level scholarship program to more effectively use summer school to keep students on a timely degree completion path.

Finally, engagement initiatives support students, employees and communities for the educational, cultural, and economic advancement of southwest Oklahoma and beyond. These include the celebration of Academic Festival X, “American Identities in the 21st Century”; meeting or exceeding annual friendraising and fundraising goals for facilities, endowed faculty positions, and growth of the Annual Fund; and expanding faculty outreach to area teachers and staff.

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June 20, 2017