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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: January 6, 2012

Sen. Jim Wilson
Sen. Jim Wilson

Bill filed to return tuition decisions back to Legislature

Prior to 1991, the Legislature voted on tuition and fee increases at state colleges and universities. That year, the Legislature decided to give power over tuition decisions to the State Board of Regents but under a strict cap through House Bill 1219. In 2003, however, another measure was passed to give the State Regents full reign over decisions concerning tuition hikes. Since that time, tuition has nearly doubled and mandatory fees have nearly quadrupled, which has some lawmakers like Sen. Jim Wilson wanting to take back control over such decisions.

“In the Legislature, we’re always talking about the importance of having a highly educated population and we do all we can to attract businesses to the state so college graduates will have access to good, high-paying jobs,” said Wilson, D-Tahlequah. “But all our efforts are in vain when a lot of citizens simply can’t afford to attend college because tuition continues to rise at a staggering rate, far surpassing the rate of inflation. That’s why I think it’s time for the Legislature to take back the responsibility of making tuition decisions.”

On Thursday, Wilson filed Senate Bill 1062, which would amend current law so that the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education would simply propose, rather than establish, increases to resident and nonresident tuition as well as other fees required of students attending Oklahoma institutions of higher education. Currently, by January 1 of each year, the Regents must submit a report to the Governor, Senate President Pro Tempore, the Speaker of the House, the minority floor leaders and education committee chairs of both houses of what actions they approved that year. Under Wilson’s bill, they would instead submit a proposal for tuition and fee increases and the Legislature would vote on it during session.

The State Regents began setting tuition rates during the 2003-2004 school year. That year, the average tuition rate per credit hour for undergraduate residents at the research universities (OU and OSU) was $72.10. For FY ’12, the average is $135.88 and if mandatory fees are included, the amount increases to $237.19.

The history of tuition rates per credit hour can be found at http://www.okhighered.org/studies-reports/fy12-tuition-fees.pdf.

For more information contact:
Sen. Wilson: (405) 521-5574

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