The part of the country or even the world a student lives in can significantly affect tuition rates as a student at Oregon State University, which varies the price per credit for in-state, out-of-state and international students.
OSU dictates tuition per student based on the number of academic credits taken by the student per term, where each credit starts at a specific price and increases as more classes are added.
For undergraduate students that are also Oregon residents, the price per credit starts at $312 and goes up in increments to a total of $3,280 for a full-time student taking 15 credits. For the same 15 credits, an out-of-state student would pay $9,815.
“It frustrates me that out-of-state tuition rates prevent people from being able to pursue opportunities that will optimize their success,” said Tali Ilkovich, a sophomore studying natural resources. “If I chose to stay in my state, I wouldn't have been able to pursue the program I'm most passionate about.”
Ilkovich is from Maryland and chose OSU because of the university’s recognition for its forestry program. She noted that in order to combat the high prices of tuition, she has to rely on scholarships and federal aid to help pay for tuition.
Not all credits are created equally either, as there are fee raises for specific colleges, including the College of Forestry, which starts at $327 per credit instead of $312. Additional colleges that increase credit payments are the College of Business, Engineering, Arts and the Honors College.
All tuition rates are decided the same way through the university’s Budget Committee, which makes recommendations on tuition rates for OSU's president to review and recommend to the Board of Trustees, according to Sherman Bloomer, associate vice president of Budget and Resource Planning. The Budget Committee includes faculty, staff and student representatives and the process includes reviews of all the revenues and expected expenses as well as tuition forums with the campus community.
“Tuition all goes into the same pool and is distributed to support the faculty and programs across the university. While non-resident tuition is higher than resident tuition, it is not extra money, in that resident tuition doesn’t pay nearly the actual cost of education,” Bloomer said. “The state puts in operating money for residents each year and has built, or contributed to, and partly repaired most of the buildings and facilities. Non-resident tuition is closer to the actual total cost of education.”
There is typically an average increase in tuition of 2-5% each year for each type of tuition, including resident and non-resident, Ecampus and international, according to Bloomer.
The Board of Trustees is the final step in solidifying tuition, and members of this committee are often sent concerns of students in regard to tuition. International students at OSU pay approximately $12,000 per term, not including the housing and dining services added to their cost of attendance.
“International students specifically have to take care of various visa and immigration fees and documentation throughout their stay, they aren't allowed to work off campus [and] aren't eligible for FAFSA, food stamps, loans, or any other U.S. federal aid, although they pay elevated taxes,” said Khawater Hussein, the student trustee on the OSU Board of Trustees.
If an international student is unable to pay their tuition, they could get expelled from OSU which would ensue deportation, Hussein said.
OSU’s tuition comes down to what services need financial support, and often the elevated costs in tuition based on the type of student allows for the university to pay its essential dues—to faculty and professors, to the maintenance of the buildings, or to new and growing academic programs.