North Texas Daily

Oklahoma tuition cut nearly in half

Oklahoma tuition cut nearly in half

Oklahoma tuition cut nearly in half
February 10
00:25 2015

Steven James / Senior Staff Writer

To attract more students, UNT will change the out-of-state Oklahoma undergraduate tuition rate this coming fall from $10,282.70 to $5,602.70 for 15 credit hours.

Texas Education Code Section 54.0601 allows universities within 100 miles of state boundaries to lower the out-of-state tuition rate for residents of a specific neighboring state. New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana are all too far away for UNT to try to decrease tuition for students.

However, UNT is only 37 miles south of the Oklahoma border.

Executive director of admissions Rebecca Lothringer said the new rate is not a way to give Oklahomans a chance to earn in-state tuition, which is $4,852.70 for 15 hours.

“This is a new rate to open opportunities for our students from the north, but it’s in no means going to take the place of in-state tuition,” Lothringer said.

UNT president Neal Smatresk said the need for lower tuition was evident.

“We draw students from 50 states, but when I look at our enrollment, our neighboring states’ enrollment is very low,” Smatresk said. “We have quite a lot of application interest every year, to the tune of 300 or 400 students who are in Oklahoma who request our information and are interested in our programs.”

Smatresk said he was disappointed when he learned that the gap between interested Oklahoma students and those who actually attended was so large. Only 74 Oklahoma undergraduate students currently attend UNT.

“The answer that enrollment management gave me was they talked to kids and told them what non-residential tuition was,” he said. “So, what we said was if the real problem is tuition and that’s maybe nearly double the residential tuition in Oklahoma, then it might be fair if we can drop it and this statute allows us to do so.”

The $5,602.70 tuition rate is still higher than residential tuition at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, $3,720.75 at both for 12 or more hours.

“I know it works a lot the other way, where students from Texas get discounts to come over to Oklahoma as students here,” OSU Office of the Bursar employee Ryan Johnson said. “I definitely think it’ll help more people go where they want to go for school.”

Smatresk said the new rate will give Oklahoma students a chance to enter a growing job market.

“We’ve got to train those we have, but we also need to be pulling in students from around the country to participate in our economy,” he said.

Job growth in the Dallas area rose to 257,000 in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Associated Press.

“It’s funny, because we’re actually closer to Oklahoma City than we are to Austin, so we’re a lot closer opportunity for students in Oklahoma than they might think,” Lothringer said. “Moving into another state will allow to extend our reputation farther out than just Texas, and then really get a strong hold of Oklahoma.”

Featured Image: University of North Texas Dr. Rebecca Lothringer, Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions. Photo courtesy of Gary Payne – UNT News

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