President’s Corner: Tuition increase and SE Alert

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President’s Corner: Tuition increase and SE Alert

Courtesy photo of Dan Hoke

Courtesy photo of Dan Hoke

Courtesy photo of Dan Hoke

President Sean Burrage

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I am beginning my third year as president of Southeastern, and I can say, without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of the job is the interaction I have with students.

Over the past two years, I have met many of you at various activities and events, through the President’s Leadership Class, or just casually eating lunch in the Student Union café.

I am very proud of our students and the manner in which they represent the University.

With this column, it is my intent to keep you informed on a variety of issues that may impact you. And my door is always open to you.

In late June, our board of regents approved Southeastern’s budget and recommendations regarding tuition and mandatory fees. As you are probably aware, the state of Oklahoma is experiencing a severe downturn in the economy, which in turn, dramatically affects higher education in a negative way.

For instance, Southeastern is receiving more than $3 million less from the state than we did last year. We are attempting to save money through budget cuts in areas such as travel, operations, and supplies, and retirement of personnel.

Unfortunately, because of the reduction in state funding, we were left with little choice but to increase our tuition and mandatory fees by 8 percent. We will do our very best to offset this by continuing to put more dollars into student scholarships. Eighty-percent of our students receive financial aid, and we will continue to do our best to provide assistance.

I appreciate your understanding that these are tough decisions, but at the same time, many factors that go into the decisions are out of our control.

I also want to mention that campus safety continues to be a top priority at the University. With that in mind, we are making substantial modifications and improvements to our “SE Alert” emergency messaging system.

In early July, we plan to roll out a smartphone-app-based feature that allows anyone on campus to immediately contact emergency services through the app, which also activates geo-location technology to help campus police find students or staff who are in distress on our campus.

In addition, the smartphone app will be a convenient way for students, faculty, and staff to update the contact information for alert messages to a new phone number and email address as needed. The new updates will also increase our efficiency in distributing emergency messages to the campus community by automatically updating our social media accounts and SE.edu homepage when we send out alerts.

Again, my door is always open to students, and I value your opinions and suggestions. If you have questions or concerns, please email me at [email protected]