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Hello Everyone,

I want to share a press release we received yesterday from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). This organization serves as the voice of independent, nonprofit higher education institutions in the United States such as Oklahoma City University.

An annual survey of NAICU members shows tuition increases at private nonprofit universities are at the lowest rate in 40 years while opportunities for student financial aid have increased.

In the release, NAICU President David L. Warren says: “During the past five years, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts and implemented innovative initiatives to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency, and enhance their affordability.” At OCU, we have taken significant and strategic steps to implement similar initiatives with the goal of providing our students a personalized, high-quality, rigorous liberal arts and sciences education.

Due to budget and enrollment efficiencies, we were able lock in the 2013-2014 tuition rate for incoming freshmen for the next four years. Student fees and housing costs remained flat for 2013-14. Tuition for current students increased 1 percent and new transfer students entered at the current student rate. The per credit hour rate for domestic graduate students pursuing an MBA, MSA or MSCS decreased.

Our commitment to financial aid is as strong as ever. Oklahoma City University offers more than $25 million in academic merit and talent-based scholarships. We award financial assistance to more than 84% percent of our students. 

OCU students have unparalleled access to faculty and staff, in-depth research and internship opportunities, and access to a multitude of extra-curricular programs, lectures, and events. Our class size encourages interaction with professors and increases opportunities for “real life” experiences in and outside the classroom.

The importance of these qualities is evident in results from the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement. Here are a few highlights based on the specific surveys of OCU freshmen and seniors:
  • OCU freshmen rate the university in the top 10 percent nationally for teaching high order learning, which pertains to critical thinking skills such as applying facts, theories or methods to practical problems; analyzing an idea, experience or line of reasoning; evaluating a point of view, decision, or information source; or forming a new idea, or understanding various pieces of information.

  • Thirty percent of Oklahoma City University seniors complete research projects with professors, ranking OCU significantly higher than the national average.

  • Students at Oklahoma City University rate student-faculty interaction well above the national average.

These are the assets that make our graduates better-prepared for the workforce, competitive in the job market, and sought after by employers. An OCU education is a valuable commodity for our students and our community.



Private College Tuition Increases at Lowest Rate in Four Decades
Published Tuition at Private Institutions Grew an Average of 3.6 Percent for 2013-14; 
Institutional Student Aid up 6.9 Percent

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 10, 2013) — Students and families entering the nation’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities this academic year experienced the lowest tuition and fee rate increases in at least four decades. According to an annual survey of its members, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) reports published tuition and fees increased by just 3.6 percent for the 2013-2014 academic year. At the same time, institutional student aid budgets at private colleges increased an average of 6.9 percent for 2013-14.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the percentage increase in published tuition has stayed below pre-recession rates, and the second time in at least four decades it has been below 4 percent. From 2009-10 to 2013-14, average private college tuition increases ran in the mid-four percent range, down from an average annual increase of nearly 6 percent during the previous 10 years. This year’s rate is the lowest NAICU has on record dating back to 1972-73 (see chart below).

“During the past five years, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts and implemented innovative initiatives to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency, and enhance their affordability,” said NAICU President David L. Warren. “This, coupled with generous institutional student aid policies, has resulted in a private higher education that is accessible and affordable to students and families from all backgrounds.”

According to NAICU, data show that the average inflation-adjusted net tuition and fees (published tuition and fees minus grant aid from all sources and federal higher education tax benefits) has increased just $230, to $13,380, at private, nonprofit institutions over the past ten years. According to the College Board, in 2012-2013, published tuition and fees averaged just over $29,000 at nonprofit colleges and universities.

Results from NAICU’s survey also show this year’s average 6.9 percent increase in institutional student aid follows increases of 6.2 percent, 7.3 percent, 6.8 percent, and 9 percent in 2012-13, 2011-12, 2010-11, and 2009-10, respectively. The NAICU survey did not collect student aid figures prior to 2009-10.

“Private, nonprofit colleges and universities have been and will continue to be positive investments that pay big dividends,” said Warren. “Nearly eight-in-ten students who earned a bachelor’s degree from a four-year private institution did so in four years, graduating with manageable debt and prepared to succeed and contribute to the workforce and society.”

Tuition Cuts, Freezes, and Other Affordability Measures Spread

Since the economic downturn, private colleges have introduced creative affordability measures to keep out-of-pocket costs as low as possible for students and families. In recent years, an unprecedented number of private institutions have cut tuition, frozen tuition, announced fixed-tuition guarantees (no increases for students while they are enrolled), or introduced three-year degree programs.

Other initiatives are also spreading, including military scholarships, substantial student aid increases, loan repayment assistance programs, and articulation agreements with community colleges.

More than half (510) of NAICU’s 962 member colleges and universities responded to this year’s survey of published tuition and institutional student aid increases. NAICU member institutions enroll 90 percent of the students who attend private, nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States. NAICU’s survey collects percentage increases in published tuition and institutional student aid budget increases, but not dollar amounts.