Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Fewer Graduation Caps: Budget Cuts Mean Higher Tuition, Fewer Slots at Colleges, Universities

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Fewer Graduation Caps: Budget Cuts Mean Higher Tuition, Fewer Slots at Colleges, Universities

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - Higher education budget cuts have capped growth in some degrees, including the engineering program at Oklahoma State University, officials said Thursday.

State Regent Jay Helm said OSU President Burns Hargis told the State Regents for Higher Education that the school will limit the number of students enrolling in the programs.

"Even though there's a huge demand, because of the budget cuts they can't afford the faculty to teach," Helm said at a regents meeting.

Hargis was not available for comment, but university spokeswoman Carrie Hulsey-Greene confirmed the department's budget will be flat and cannot accommodate any more growth. Overall, universities will be shedding more than 160 faculty positions and 323 staffers.

The news is just one effect of statewide cuts handed down over the past year, along with the mandatory $153 million reduction that begins in the budget year starting July 1. Lawmakers took another $4 million from the regents' reserve fund for agency operations; the money is normally used to subsidize tuition grants, summer academies and concurrent enrollment.

"(Concurrent enrollment) is one of the star programs for common education kids who can get college credits while they're still in high school," Helm said. "They've cut that out."

University reserve funds are also depleted because of the state budget situation. …

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