Lawton_The cost of gas isn't the only cost Cameron University (CU) students will see rise in the 2008-2009 school year. CU President Cindy Ross says the cost of Cameron's operations has increased drastically over the past year, so tuition increases are to be expected. As a result, Cameron is doing whatever it can to help students with their tuition costs. Cameron is increasing the amount of scholarships offered, the amount of work study positions available, and the wages they pay students who work on campus - the university is still taking a bit of a hit.
No one ever said the cost of higher education would be easy or cheap, and Ross says Cameron was hit with mandatory cost increases this year. "We started out building this budget with a $620,000 budget deficit," she says. "Costs that we have no control over increased - utilities, health care costs...those types of things."
Ross says that as the number of students, cost of operation, and fuel prices increase, Cameron's budget has taken a hit. "State budget cuts are very, very difficult, and they do present a significant challenge for us in presenting students the quality of education they need and deserve," she says.
In the six years Ross has been president, Cameron has experienced seven budget cuts - $80,000 for this year alone. But, regardless of the financial cut, she says it's important that Cameron continue to grow. "We are committed to moving forward and providing students additional services, as well as maintaining the quality academic classroom we now offer," she says.
To make up for the slash in the budget, Cameron is pulling from a last resort source to finance a $44 million budget. "We will be looking at our reserve fund...our rainy day fund that the state regents mandate each college and university have in the event there is a budget shortfall," she says.
Since the budget cuts are widespread, Ross says it will take teamwork to overcome thinning financial resources. Students can expect to see a tuition increase of $11.80 per credit hour. However, some students say they don't expect the increase to affect their education. Students aren't the only ones feeling the pinch, though. Faculty will not see a pay increase built into this year's budget. "We continue to ask them to do more with less, and the faculty have always responded to that because their passion towards are students is immeasurable," says Ross.