NOC regents approve budget, tuition hike

Northern Oklahoma College President Cheryl Evans. (Mitchell Willetts / Enid News & Eagle)

ENID, Okla. — Northern Oklahoma College Board of Regents approved the fiscal year 2019-20 operating budget for the college during its regularly scheduled June meeting.

The regents and NOC President Dr. Cheryl Evans said they were pleased to see some additional funding for higher education for the first time in five yearss.

Increases in the Oklahoma State Regents budget were provided with legislative intent to cover three areas: 100% of the cost for concurrent enrollment for seniors (tuition only), compared to 86.9% reimbursed last year; a 3.5% increase in salary for full-time higher education faculty; and Section 13 offset (for institutions that do not receive school land capital funds).

NOC also received a slight adjustment for performance-based funding from the State Regents because NOC met state goals for degree production and other funding formula criteria.

Although the state budget for higher education reflects a ­­­slight increase from the prior year, the college still faces several challenges in budgeting resources, Evans said.

“First, higher education’s budget has been cut so dramatically in the past few years that NOC, like many institutions, has already made significant cuts,” she said. “Second, while funding was provided for increases in faculty salaries, funding was not provided for fringe benefits required to accompany this increase, nor was funding provided for higher education staff salary and benefits increases. Third, mandatory costs, such as healthcare, continue to rise regardless of revenue. Finally, enrollment is trending downward statewide, and Northern’s enrollment is no exception.”

NOC’s budget includes state appropriations of $8.1 million, a 4.49% or $349,794 increase from the original FY2019. State appropriations now account for 33% of NOC’s overall operating budget; this number reflects an increase from last year’s 28.6% but is still significantly down from the 70% provided in 2002.

Tuition and fees paid by students and their families will comprise 67% of NOC's operating budget in the coming year. NOC’s $24.7 million budget for 2019-20 represents a $2.6 million decrease from last year’s original 2018-19 budget as mid-year cuts were not reinstated and anticipated enrollment decrease for the fall.

“To maintain full-time positions and essential student support services, it is necessary to increase revenue,” Evans said. “In order to meet the budget needs for the coming year, the regents approved a 4.6 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees at the June board meeting.”

Evans said the proposed increase was presented to the State Regents on June 26 and was approved.

Evans said the change will take effect in the fall 2019 semester and will amount to an increase in resident tuition and fees of $97.50 per semester, or $195, for the academic year for students on the Tonkawa and Enid campuses who complete 30 credit hours.

“We understand the financial sacrifice many of our students and their families make in order to seek a higher education and raising the cost of tuition is not a decision that the college takes lightly; however, this increase will assist in preserving the quality of the student experience at Northern.” Evans said.

“As President Evans has previously stated, we are appreciative and thankful to our governor and state leadership for their support of additional funding for higher education for the coming fiscal year,” said NOC Regents chair Chad Dillingham. “We appreciate and understand that their job is difficult, as there is never enough revenue to meet the demands of our publicly funded needs.

“It is also a difficult task on the parts of administration, faculty, staff, students and their families, and regents of our state higher education system to find ways to do more with less, all the while striving to keep the student experiences as positive and meaningful as possible, while keeping the quality and affordability of their educational needs attainable,” Dillingham said.

In other business, the regents approved various items, including tenure request, campus master plan, items for surplus auction scheduled July 20 at NOC, monthly financial report and purchases.

Also, Ed Vineyard, retiring vice president for NOC Enid, was recognized at his final board of regents meeting.

Dillingham thanked Vineyard for his service.

“Thank you for a fantastic 20 years of leadership at NOC Enid,” Dillingham said.

Retiring Regent Jeff Cowan also was recognized for eight years of service to NOC.

“It was an honor and privilege to serve with all of you,” Cowan said. “I won’t forget this experience.”

Regents also elected officers for the 2019-20 fiscal year. They are chair, Dale DeWitt; vice chair, Jodi Cline; and secretary, Dillingham. Other members are Stan Brownlee and Michael Martin, who replaces Cowan. Martin takes office in July.

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