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NEWS

Oct. 27, 2003

OU Regents Approve Salary Increase for RSU Faculty and Staff

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents has approved a salary increase for most full-time employees at Rogers State University.

The OU board of regents, the governing board for RSU, approved the salary adjustment plan at its monthly meeting on Monday in Claremore.

The new salary plan will provide an average increase of five percent for employees at RSU. The merit adjustments will be retroactive to July 1 and the cost to the university will be $470,535.

"Faculty and staff members at RSU have not had salary increases in two years," said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. "During that time, the cost of health insurance has increased significantly for our employees and their families. Furthermore, RSU employees have been asked to accomplish more with less as the institution made its transition from a community college to a regional university."

According to data compiled by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, RSU has 67 full-time employees for every 1,000 students the lowest employee-to-student ratio of any regional university in Oklahoma. The state average is 87 full-time employees per 1,000 students at other regional universities.

"Our philosophy at RSU has always been to hire fewer employees, ask more productivity from them and compensate them well," Wiley said. "RSU would have to add 66 more full-time employees to equal the average number of employees used by other regional universities to support an equivalent number of students."

In addition, RSU employees have worked very hard to initiate cost-cutting measures in order to save money, Wiley said.

This fall, RSU recorded significant enrollment growth, including increases of 16.8 percent in first-time freshmen, 9.6 percent in student credit hours (full-time equivalency) and 8.4 percent in overall headcount the largest increases of any regional university in Oklahoma. A total of 3,578 students are enrolled in classes at RSU, compared to 3,302 students last fall.

The surge in enrollment will generate $525,000 above what was budgeted for the present fall semester. A similar increase in revenue is expected in the upcoming spring semester.

Adding to the savings at RSU was a decision in 2001 to delay the implementation of intercollegiate athletics, which saved the university approximately $1 million in start-up and annual operating costs associated with sports programs.