EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon has proposed a 6 percent increase in tuition and fees next year.
The state Board of Higher Education is reviewing increases proposed by the UO and the six other state universities. The board is scheduled to vote June 21.
If the board goes ahead with the increase, annual tuition at the University of Oregon next school year would be $9,852, double what it cost a decade ago.
"A lot of people feel really kind of hopeless about how much money school costs, how much debt they're undertaking," student Kerry Edinger Snodgrass told The Register-Guard newspaper.
University officials said they tried to limit the tuition increase but must pay for mandatory benefit payment increases that will add more than $10 million to next year's expenses. They also boosted the budget to hire new faculty and equip new classrooms to catch up with enrollment growth.
"None of us want to see tuition increases continue to go up," UO Chief Financial Officer Jamie Moffitt said. "It's a very careful balance, and what we're trying to do is look at what are the necessary cost increases that we have to cover in order to run the university, and that includes a lot of mandatory costs."
The tuition and fee increase at 6 percent is well over the cost of inflation. The Portland Regional Consumer Price Index increased 2.5 percent in 2012. The national Higher Education Price Index was up 1.7 percent.
Moffitt said the costs at the UO are going up faster.
"We're looking at cost drivers that are more than inflation," she said. "It's pretty difficult to avoid mandatory increases in the cost base that we have."
Snodgrass said many of her high school friends went to liberal arts colleges in other states. She stayed relatively close to her hometown of Corvallis.
"I chose to go somewhere we knew the costs would be low," the geology major said, "but when you have such a huge increase from what it was in 2008, it's just kind of shocking."