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June 3, 2022 LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Eastern Oregon University Board of Trustees convened on campus for its final regular meeting of the 2021-22 academic year on May 18 and 19.
One of the key topics reviewed and discussed at length by the board was the proposed changes to tuition, fees, and board rates for the 2022-23 academic year. Over the past several months, the university’s Budget and Planning, and Tuition Advisory Committees have met regularly and held student forums to develop a plan that was presented at the meeting.
After holding tuition rates flat with no increases for the 2021-22 academic year, the board approved a 4.9% increase in all undergraduate tuition rates and a 2.5% increase in graduate-level tuition rates for the 2022-23 academic year. Trustees also approved a 3% increase in room and board rates.
Increases were cited as necessary due to pandemic-related enrollment decline and growing financial pressure from inflation, which the university business model does not allow for easy reaction to. The board expressed concern at the increases and their impact on students but is optimistic that the campus community understands their necessity due to ongoing financial strains caused by the pandemic.
A $15 per term increase to the health service fee and a $24 increase to incidental fees were also approved for 2022-23 along with a $1 business differential per credit for graduate and undergraduate courses.
Even with tuition increases and anticipated expenses, the preliminary FY ’23 operating budget is planned with a $2 million deficit. It is hoped that a projected 9 percent increase in enrollment will offset the $2 million deficit, currently funded through the university’s reserves.
The board also approved an extension of President Tom Insko’s contract through the end of the 2022 calendar, with a salary increase in line with the university’s administrative professionals.
Trustees took part in annual training on diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) systems and practices. The two-part training, led by Vice President of Student Affairs Lacy Karpilo and Director of Human Resources Chris McLaughlin, saw the board analyze and discuss questions about two case studies involving sexual harassment and victim confidentiality.
EOU President Tom Insko presented Associate Professor of Chemistry Ron Kelly with the first annual teacher excellence award. President Insko worked with the EOU Foundation to establish the award and cited Professor Kelly’s constant devotion to his students and the expansion of their educational prowess for the past 22 years.
“I do feel blessed at EOU,” Kelly commented. “When I came here for an interview, the president at the time was part of my interview process…Having the president as part of the day that I’m there and to have the president take the time out of his busy day to meet with me and have a conversation certainly had a positive impression on me. Thank you very, very much,” Kelly said.
The Board also recognized the service of four trustees who are retiring: Dixie Lund, Abel Mendoza, Bobbie Conner, and Karyn Gomez. Lund, Mendoza, and Conner are part of EOU’s founding Board of Trustees.
In a heartfelt speech, Trustee Lund said “Eastern Oregon is a force to be reckoned with, our mission matters, our employees matter, our students matters, our rural university designation matters, and this board of passionate volunteers matters.”
In other board business, Trustees received an update from Higher Education Coordinating Commission Executive Director Ben Cannon on Future Ready Oregon, the College of Education’s Educator Equity Plan, adopted amendments to two board statements, and received reports from leaders of EOU’s shared governance groups.
Meeting materials and complete minutes are available at eou.edu/governance/board-meeting-schedule. A video recording of the meeting will soon be posted at: https://www.eou.edu/governance/livestream-meetings/.
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