CORVALLIS - Oregon State University officials said the $1.87 million appropriated Friday to OSU by the Legislative Emergency Board to accommodate its increasing enrollment will go toward providing more course sections and academic support for students.
The E-Board decided Friday to provide the money to OSU and another $284,415 for the Oregon Institute of Technology to help those institutions deal with substantial enrollment increases. The request came from the chancellor of the Oregon University System, Joe Cox.
OSU's fall term enrollment of 14,619 students represents an increase of more than 850 students since fall of 1996 - the largest two-year growth at the university in 29 years.
"Oregon State has made a significant effort to recruit and retain top quality students and to keep them on track toward graduation," said Roy Arnold, OSU provost and executive vice president. "Unfortunately, we have been funded at 1996 levels."
Arnold said OSU would add class sections for spring term, with priority going to courses required for majors, especially in engineering, business, teacher education and agriculture. Additional resources will bolster student support services, including advising, counseling, and the enhancement of classrooms and other teaching resources.
A new funding model for public higher education, endorsed by the university presidents and approved by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, should eliminate the future need for these types of emergency requests. OSU's budget was cut by $12 million during the last two years because the old funding formula had a lag time between the time of enrollment and resulting budget allocations.
The new formula has built-in flexibility to more quickly allocate resources to institutions based on enrollment.
OSU President Paul Risser, on a university research and outreach trip to Antarctica, said via telephone Friday that the allocation will "permit the continued very high quality learning experiences everyone in the state now expects from Oregon State University.
"I would like to extend my personal appreciation to the legislators on the Education Subcommittee and on the Emergency Board for their support," Risser added. "It reflects both their recognition of the work the university has done to increase enrollment and the importance of higher education in the state of Oregon."