CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Board of Trustees Friday approved a $1.22 billion budget for fiscal year 2018 that funds university operations and invests in strategic university initiatives while continuing the expansion of the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend. 

The board also approved issuing $74.6 million in bonds for capital construction projects.

Trustees provided special recognition for Pat Reser, who has served as chair of the board since OSU created its institutional board of trustees in July 2014. Reser is retiring from the board on June 30. Trustees voted unanimously Friday to name Rani Borkar, a technology industry executive and former Intel corporate vice president, as board chair effective July 1. Borkar also has served on the board since its inception.

Reser, an Oregon State alumna, called her service as board chair a "highlight" of her many OSU experiences and said she was honored to serve in this role. Board members praised Reser for her wisdom, experience and grace, which characterized her service as chair, they said.

"I was honored to serve in this capacity," Reser said. "I've learned a lot, and I've had the opportunity to practice so many things, and for that I'm appreciative. It has been a blessing."

OSU President Ed Ray said he has known Reser since he arrived at Oregon State in 2003 and commended her leadership and commitment to the university.

"Pat Reser has demonstrated exceptional leadership throughout her time as board chair," he said. "Her service has benefited both the board and the university greatly. In all that she does, Pat exemplifies Oregon State's mission to serve Oregonians and our state."

In approving the university's operating budget, trustees discussed future uncertainties, including state funding that is expected to be flat; increases in pension and health care costs; a slower growth rate in the population of traditional college-age students; challenges in recruiting non-resident students, including international students; and anticipated changes in the federal funding environment.

As a result of flat state funding and mandated increases in pension and health care costs, OSU must reduce expenditures by $20 million in fiscal year 2018. This will be achieved through differential expense reductions across the university. Administrative units' cuts will range from 2 percent to 5 percent; academic college reductions will range from 1 percent to 3 percent.

At the same time, the university will make investments in strategic initiatives including:

  • The university's Student Success Initiative, which aims to increase first-year retention and graduation rates;
  • Continued development of the university's Marine Studies Initiative and facilities in Newport;
  • Support for student, staff and faculty life programs, including child care services;
  • Expansion of the College of Engineering professional school and programs in the College of Veterinary Medicine;
  • Projects to address deferred maintenance of university buildings and facilities; and
  • Increased support for the OSU Foundation and Alumni Association.

"The fiscal year 2018 budget will allow investments that are critical for the future success of Oregon State University by providing support for high-quality learning experiences and global impacts through OSU outreach and engagement and research discoveries," Ray said. "All of these budget decisions advance the university's strategic plan."

The operating budget includes $645 million in education and general fund expenditures to support instruction, research and statewide public services; $234 million in self-support funds, which include university auxiliaries such as Student Health Services, University Housing and Dining, and student centers; and $338 million in restricted funds, which include philanthropic donations to the OSU Foundation and externally funded grants.

In approving the budget, trustees reflected on the projection of flat funding for higher education from the Oregon Legislature following the increase that had come in the 2015-17 biennium for the state's seven public universities. Projected flat funding combined with mandated increases in pension and health care costs erase significant gains in per-student support from the state for the 2015-17 biennium.

The capital budget approved by the trustees includes $2 million in OSU revenue bonds for the renovation of Gilkey Hall; $7.8 million for work on the university's heating system; $30 million for upper-division and graduate student housing; $27 million for student housing at Newport; and $5.3 million for a collection of minor capital improvements for university facilities in Corvallis.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a liquidity management policy;

• Authorized the university to enter into line-of-credit agreements not to exceed a total of $50 million;

• Amended the university's presidential assessment policy; and

• Approved board meeting schedules for 2018 and 2019.

The board heard public input from community members regarding the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center and the budget. 

Story By: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039


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