"OBU's tuition for full-time students will increase 4.95 percent, from $18,894 for the current academic year to $19,830 for the 2013-14 academic year. The overall costs, which include tuition, fees, room and board, will increase by 4.47 percent, from $26,996 for 2012-13 to $28,202 for 2013-14."To be clear, we're not protesting the tuition hike. Presumably it's typical. And as we all know, OBU is consistently recognized as a "best value" college in national publications.
We just want to point out that the BGCO will continue to provide a smaller and smaller proportion of OBU's annual budget. In 2011, the convention pledged just under $2.5 million to OBU's support, which accounts for less than 5% of OBU's $53 million annual budget. Another factor that further erodes the value of the BGCO's subsidy is the fact that enrollment is increasing. The BGCO's subsidy amounts to about $1,250 per student.
Many people who haven't thought much about the issue probably assume that OBU is financially dependent on the BGCO. It's not. As recently as the early 1980s, the convention was providing 25% of OBU's operating funds. That number has plummeted over the years to less than 5%. For only slightly more than an average tuition increase, OBU could replace the BGCO's subsidy altogether.
What would OBU get in exchange for saying thanks-but-no-thanks to the convention's annual institutional welfare check? For one thing, freedom. OBU could elect its own trustees, and not have to have them elected by the BGCO. Furthermore, OBU would certainly not continue down the path indicated by recent changes which suggest, among other problems, that being a fundamentalist is now a prerequisite for employment in the school's religion department.
For its part, the convention would instantaneously free up 24% of its annual Oklahoma Cooperative Program allocations for evangelism, church planting, missions, vital ministries, and especially campus ministries at the 3 dozen other Oklahoma colleges. Those Baptist Collegiate Ministries are solely dependent on the BGCO's meager funding and are not even permitted to petition individual churches for support.
Alumni, please be aware that the BGCO is funding a much tinier fraction of students' education today than when you attended. Students and parents, as you write checks and sign loan agreements, you can be grateful that the state convention nominally reduces your out-of-pocket expense. But be aware of what it's going to cost in the long run.