Helping prospective students and their families make plans for fall 2014 enrollment, Ouachita Baptist University’s Board of Trustees voted Sept. 12 to set tuition rates for the 2014-15 academic year.
The new rates include $11,400 per semester for tuition plus $260 for activity and tech fees and $3,450 for room & board for a total cost of $15,110 per semester, an increase of about 4 percent from the current rates.
With more than 95 percent of Ouachita students receiving scholarships and other financial aid to significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs, the announced rates allow students to begin exploring financial assistance opportunities.
Based on a study of peer institutions from Arkansas and surrounding states, Ouachita’s per-semester cost ranks 14th among the 18 colleges and universities surveyed. Dr. Brett Powell, vice president for administrative services, told board members that a primary goal in budgeting for tuition costs each year is to “stay at an affordable rate compared to our peer institutions.”
In personnel-related actions, trustees approved three new staff members:
Alison Johnson has been named an admissions counselor. She is a 2013 Ouachita graduate with a major in musical theatre. She will be recruiting students from mid-south Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Margaret McGraw has been named assistant athletic director. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M University and has served the past four years as assistant to the vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M. She also has experience as an administrative assistant working with student-athlete services.
Brittany Vick, a 2010 Ouachita graduate, has been named an admissions counselor. She graduated cum laude with majors in Christian studies/Biblical studies and mass communications. She will be recruiting students in northeast Arkansas as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
New faculty members previously approved by board members include:
Dr. Mark McGraw has been named assistant professor of Spanish. He holds degrees from Texas A&M University and Webster University and a Ph.D. in Hispanic studies from Texas A&M. He served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps where he learned Spanish and worked in 35 different countries.
Dr. Becky Morrison, assistant professor of music, had been an adjunct professor of music and communications at East Central University in Ada, Okla. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Oklahoma Baptist University as well as Master of Music degrees from the University of North Texas and the Boston University College of Fine Arts and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma.
In other business, Ouachita President Rex Horne shared several campus-related updates with trustees, including plans to study the possibility of launching online degree programs as well as a possible off-campus partnership leading to an associate’s degree. He has appointed study committees to explore those options and will report the findings at a future board meeting.
Dr. Horne also announced plans to move into phase two of the university’s “Defining the Difference” campaign. The capital campaign, which was launched in conjunction with Ouachita’s 125th anniversary in 2011, has generated more than $8.3 million in gifts and pledges in addition to undesignated annual gifts. He said phase two will focus on funding specific priority goals.
He also reported that progress is being made on fundraising for the construction of a new facility for the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family & Community. The Elrod Center has been awarded a $210,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation to help the center reach its fundraising goal of $1.05 million. University officials will finalize plans to move forward with construction once fundraising for the project is complete.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU vice president for communications