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January 26, 2014

RSU finding it’s the place to be

Ranked nationally for least amount of student debt, highest in state for retention rates

CLAREMORE —

With an average student loan debt lower than both state and national averages, Rogers State University has been ranked nationally among colleges and universities with the lightest debt loads incurred by graduates, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 Best Colleges report released earlier this month.
The data includes loans taken out by students from the university, private financial institutions and federal, state and local governments. Loans to parents were not included.
According to the report, in 2012, 45 percent of RSU graduates owed money with an average debt amount of $19,019. Among last year’s graduating class, one-third were able to attain their degrees without taking out any student loans.
“University staff works closely with students to encourage them to be fiscally responsible if they decide to take out student loans,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. 
Total state aid for public colleges and universities declined from $72.7 billion in 2011-12 to $72 billion in 2012-13, down approximately one percent.
According to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education 2013 Tuition Impact Analysis Report, since 2007, state funding has declined by 19 percent from $88.7 billion in 2007-08, causing an increase in tuition for Oklahoma public colleges and universities. Declines are based on a weak economy, as well as, growth occurring during periods of economic strength.
According to the report, average national tuition rates for higher education in 2013 were $8,893, while Oklahoma tuition rates averaged to be about $5,623.
A decline in state aid and increase in tuition has impacted RSU students paying for their education. 
State funding used to cover about 70 percent of RSU’s operating costs, but has recently dropped below 50 percent. Tuition and fees now make up the largest funding source for RSU. 
“Even with tuition increase, Rogers State University remains an affordable option for students,” said Rice.
RSU’s tuition and fees are less than national and state averages for a public four-year university, estimated to be about $2,512 per semester, and $5,144 per year, according to the university’s website. 

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