OU President David Boren often asks the rhetorical question: How much longer will the University of Oklahoma be considered a public university? The primary source of funding, the state legislature through the state Regents for Higher Education, has been dwindling in the past decade.
The university, according to Boren, has absorbed about $100 million in lost state revenue since 2008. State funding, which in the 1970s accounted for about half of the university’s budget, now accounts for between 16 and 17 percent. At the OU College of Medicine, only about 7 percent of the budget comes from the state.
Boren put out an urgent plea for alumni and OU supporters to make donations to the school’s scholarship fund. When state funds are missing, a tuition increase usually follows. Scholarships are the only way some students can attend the university.
“We must keep the doors of opportunity open to our students,” Boren said. “By giving to scholarships, OU alumni can directly impact the lives of our current and future students. The generosity of oursupporters will provide educational opportunities for the future generations of our state.”
“The need for scholarships is greater now more than ever,” Boren said. “Gifts small and large will be greatly appreciated.”
OU is not alone in its state funding decline. The U.S. has fallen from first place in the world to 14th in the percentage of the college-age group going on to higher education.
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