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Statewide commission approves progress

State commission approves EOU’s progress

May 10, 2018 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  Eastern Oregon University has met all conditions set by the former State Board of Education in 2014, meeting the unanimous approval of the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Committee (HECC).

EOU joined Southern Oregon University in reaching the designated financial and performance standards, and the HECC submitted its final report to the legislature earlier this week, confirming that both institutions had met the established conditions.

For EOU, this marks momentum toward institutional goals largely focused on financial sustainability and enrollment trends.

“The HECC’s decision to remove the conditions on EOU is yet another example of the significant progress we have made as an institution in the past few years,” EOU President Tom Insko said. “We have repositioned the institution to be financially stable while maintaining tuition rates below that of the other Oregon public universities. Moreover, we have developed a new strategic plan that will lead to an exciting future for EOU.”

Over the past several years, and leading up to submitting the final conditions report in December 2017, EOU’s president and Board of Trustees focused on developing the university’s long-term sustainability.

“Our board is dedicated to the current and future success of this institution,” said David Nelson, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Our discussions, and our decisions, are driven by the board’s interest in providing the best education possible for our students as Oregon’s Rural University.”

The HECC’s full release is copied below.

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Commission unanimously votes that EOU and SOU meet state-set conditions for fiscal stability and program alignment

The decision concludes a multi-year review process established with the 2014 approval of institutional governing boards at Eastern Oregon University and Southern Oregon University

Salem, Oregon  | The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is pleased to report that Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and Southern Oregon University (SOU) have met the conditions for fiscal and performance stability tied to the approval of their institutional boards in 2014. With the Commission’s report of this decision to the Governor and state leaders this week, three years of reporting, analysis, and monitoring came to a conclusion after the universities demonstrated to the Commission the fiscal stability and clarity of mission required for future success.

The Commission found that since 2014, EOU’s and SOU’s work to clarify institutional missions, restructure academic programming, make new investments in student recruitment and success, and improve financial management have―in combination with significant state funding increases―placed the universities on substantially more stable financial footing. As a result, the HECC voted unanimously on April 12, 2018 that both institutions meet the spirit and intent of the conditions established in 2014 by the former State Board of Higher Education connected to the approval of their independent governing boards. The HECC’s final analysis of each university’s fulfillment of the conditions is detailed in two reports: Southern Oregon University Conditions Report and Eastern Oregon University Conditions Report.

In a letter sent to Governor Brown, Oregon legislators, and the universities’ Boards of Trustees, HECC chair Neil Bryant emphasized the benefits for EOU and SOU of the recent restructure of how Oregon’s higher education system is governed. “When the Oregon Legislature created institutional boards for public universities in 2013-14, it launched Oregon higher education into a brand new and unpredictable future. Based on our review of EOU and SOU―the universities the former State Board of Higher Education considered most vulnerable to the dissolution of the old system―it appears local governing boards have increased institutional oversight and enacted effective strategies that have helped position those universities for long-term success.”

Under the 2014 conditions of the State Board of Higher Education detailed here, each institution was required to submit to the HECC numerous progress reports over three years, and a final comprehensive report demonstrating the institution’s unique mission, program focus, and long-term financial viability. The HECC was required by law to determine if the conditions were met. The Commission’s April vote took place after extensive institutional reporting, detailed monitoring and analysis by HECC staff, and careful review of that work by HECC commissioners.

Ben Cannon, executive director of the HECC, said, “This review process was an important, complex directive to the HECC, and we’re thankful to our university colleagues for their detailed comprehensive reports. We’re pleased by the final outcome, and commend the EOU and SOU Boards of Trustees and campus leadership for the progress they’ve made over the last three years under their new boards.”

###The State of Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) envisions a future in which all Oregonians—and especially those whom our systems have underserved and marginalized—benefit from the transformational power of high-quality postsecondary education and training. For more information, go towww.Oregon.gov/HigherEd