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Credit Card Debt Composed Only of Interest and Fees

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					ANNUAL REPORT


         of the


Student Advisory Board

         to the


Oklahoma State Regents
  for Higher Education




       May 2009
                              ANNUAL REPORT

Purpose. The purpose of the Student Advisory Board is to communicate to the State
Regents the views and interests of all Oklahoma college and university students on
issues that relate to the constitutional and statutory responsibilities of the State
Regents. In representing students, the Student Advisory Board shall combine the
opinions of student with good, sound research to develop the best proposals and
recommendations for The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.

Creation. The creation of this board is consistent with provisions of House Bill Number
1801 of the 1988 Session of the Oklahoma Legislature. Seven members are elected
annually by delegates to the Oklahoma Student Government Association. Members
represent public tier and independent colleges, and they serve a one-year term (May
through April).



                                     MEMBERS

                        Rose Lynch, Chair, University of Tulsa

                Nicholas Harrison, Vice Chair, University of Oklahoma

                      Evan Schwenk, Oklahoma State University

            Islam Abdul-Moneim, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

                Adam Lovell, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

                      Raelynn Elsworth, Connors State College

                Alexandra Wilkes, Oklahoma City Community College




                                          2
         Student Advisory Board Recommendations and Counsel
                          to the State Regents


Academic Scholars Program

Recommendation

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education should strive to increase funding for
the Academic Scholars Program. The scholarship should be increased to match
increases in tuition and fees, and should be expanded to cover other direct costs of
attendance at the institution of the scholar’s choice, including textbooks, room and
board.

Background / Analysis

The Academic Scholars Program has not received any increased funding after
increases in tuition averaging almost ten percent (10%) in the past few years to assist
the brightest state residents in attending an Oklahoma university. The current
scholarship awards $5,500 for students who attend the University of Oklahoma,
Oklahoma State University or The University of Tulsa; $4,000 for students who attend
any other Oklahoma four-year public or private college or university; and $3,500 for
students who attend Oklahoma two-year colleges. Apart from this annual cash award,
the most additional financial aid all scholars will qualify for is a tuition waiver, which still
does not cover all the costs for the students. For example, the financial aid office at
Oklahoma State University estimates that the cost of attendance would be $19,550 for
an Oklahoma resident attending full-time for the 2008-2009 academic year. If the tuition
were waived, the student would still have $15,870 in costs.

In order to retain bright Oklahoma high school students (those who scored at or above
the 99.5th percentile on the SAT or ACT), the annual award must be re-evaluated.


Approval

Unanimous




                                               3
Higher Education Professional Misconduct System

Recommendation

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education should recommend that:

1. Every college and university should release an annual report which includes the
   following information in statistical form:
        a) the number of professional misconduct complaints filed by students every
           year.
        b) the time that it takes for these complaints to be released.
        c) the final resolutions or dispositions of these complaints.
        d) whether the students who filed the complaints were satisfied with the
           institution’s response.
2. Every state college and university should conduct and publicly release an annual
   climate survey of students to ascertain the following information:
        a) whether students feel like institutions do an adequate job of providing a safe
            learning environment – free from threats or harassment from members of the
            faculty.
        b) whether students would feel comfortable reporting professional misconduct.
        c) whether students have been the victim of professional misconduct personally
           or whether they know of anyone who has been the victim of professional
           misconduct.
        d) whether the institution handled any known professional misconduct complaints
           properly.
3. Every college and university should provide clear and concise information regarding
   the professional misconduct system that is understandable and easily accessible
   online and in faculty and student handbooks. The institutions should use the
   Statement on Professional Ethics that is utilized by the American Association
   of University Professors.
4. Every state college and university should create an ombudsman position to handle
   all professional misconduct complaints and to advise students regarding their options.
5. Every state college and university should establish a process for hearing and
   Adjudicating professional misconduct complaints – involving a system of boards
   composed of an equal number of students and faculty members which make
   recommendations to the institution’s faculty tenure, promotion, and discipline boards.
6. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education should create a statewide office
    to automatically review all professional misconduct cases.

Background / Analysis

One of the fundamental duties of the state’s higher education system is to provide a
safe learning environment.

To that end, the state’s colleges and universities claim to maintain a strict “no tolerance”
policy when it comes to any form of threats or harassment on campus. When a student
is accused of threatening or harassing a member of the faculty, he or she is usually
immediately removed from the classroom and a conduct board is assembled to hear
and adjudicate the matter. However, when a student is the target of the same form of
                                             4
threats or harassment from a member of the faculty, there is usually no formal process
to handle his or her complaints.

Students who are victims of professional misconduct are usually forced to seek redress
through college deans and department chairs who work closely with the accused
individual on a day-to-day basis. These college deans and department chairs are often
uncomfortable addressing such matters because they reflect poorly on the institution
and put them in an awkward situation considering the incestuous structure of the
institution’s promotion and tenure boards. As a consequence, most complaints from
students are initially ignored and dismissed in hopes that the student will drop the issue.

Even if a student aggressively pursues the matter, he or she is discouraged at every
level by a process which usually provides only counseling and mediation – never
adjudication or resolution. Students who are victims of professional misconduct are
usually forced to file lawsuits to attain any measure of redress.

This is a failure of the state’s higher education system.

Colleges and universities go to great lengths to protect members of the faculty from any
form of threats or harassment on campus. Students deserve nothing less.

Approval

Unanimous




                                             5
Ban on Credit Card Solicitation to Students

Recommendation

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education should recommend that:

1. Every college and university should ban people soliciting credit cards to students on
campus.

2. Every college and university should be prohibited from selling student information to
various banks and credit card companies – either directly or indirectly (i.e. through
university foundations and alumni associations).

Background / Analysis

New York’s State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recently testified that students at
colleges and universities throughout the United States are often taken advantage of by
predatory companies who offer free gifts and withhold important information about
payments and rates. According to Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, “These
aggressive and in some cases predatory practices are often aimed at students, who
have never had any serious financial obligations.”

According to a study conducted earlier this year by the United States Public Interest
Group, more than three-quarters of students polled reported stopping at a display set up
on or near their campus by a credit card company and more than thirty percent said
they were offered, or accepted, a free gift in exchange for signing up to open an
account. This year, state legislators in Arkansas, Virginia, and West Virginia have
introduced legislation to regulate solicitation on college campuses and require increased
information about credit card usage for college students and their parents.

Although alumni associations are often the primary target of marketing efforts, many
colleges and universities are also facilitating on-campus marketing aimed directly at
students who have limited income and are struggling with debt from student loans –
creating a situation where public assets are being used to enrich corporate lenders and
privately-run alumni groups.

Some colleges and universities in the State of Oklahoma have entered into agreements
with credit card companies in which they endorse and promote credit cards directly
marketed to students – selling access to databases that include mailing addresses,
telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of students.

There are at least two documented cases of students committing suicide over credit
card debt in Oklahoma in recent years, with mixed responses from the administrations.
When Mitzi Pool (18) committed suicide over credit card debt in 1997, the University of
Central Oklahoma banned all credit card companies from campus. Although Sean
Moyer (22) committed suicide over credit card debt in 1998, the University of Oklahoma
continues to market credit cards to students.

Approval

Unanimous




                                          7
University Non-Discrimination Statements

Recommendation

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education should recommend that every
college and university include “sexual orientation” in its overall non-discrimination
clause.

Background / Analysis

The issue of non-discrimination with regard to sexual orientation is becoming an
increasingly important issue within our society and within the higher education system.

There is a compelling need for the inclusion of language regarding sexual orientation in
the non-discrimination clauses of college and universities because: (1) there is a
substantial number of individuals on campus so situated as to be discriminated against
on these grounds, and (2) there is a long-standing pattern of discrimination in both,
colleges and universities and in the environing society.

Many prominent colleges and universities throughout the United States have included
sexual orientation in their non-discrimination statements – including the University of
California, the University of New York, Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford
University, Columbia University, and the University of Chicago.

Many other colleges and universities which are considered peer institutions, in terms of
mission and region, have also included sexual orientation in their non-discrimination
statements – including Southern Illinois University, the University of Arkansas, Emporia
State University, Arizona State University, Kansas State University, Pennsylvania State
University, and the University of Tulsa.

Colleges and universities have a duty to provide a safe learning environment and to
protect all students from harassment and discrimination. The inclusion of sexual
harassment in non-discrimination statements will provide clear direction to members of
the administration, faculty, and staff.

The call for inclusion is an effort to secure equal rights for all persons, regardless of
sexual orientation, not a movement to secure special rights for individuals of a particular
sexual orientation.

Approval

Unanimous




                                            8
Tuition and Fees

Recommendation

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education should exercise every effort to try to
keep tuition and fee increases to a minimum, and should continue to exercise due
diligence in researching the impact of any tuition and fee increases on student
enrollment and retention.

Background / Analysis

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have had more control over tuition
and fees at the state’s public institutions of higher education since 2003 when House
Bill 1748 removed the resident tuition cap of seven percent (7%) and allowed the State
Regents to set tuition and fees.

From 1992 to 2003, tuition and fees increased an average of 5.2% per year. Since the
legislative change, tuition and fees have averaged an increase of almost double that
rate. Since the State Regents have exercised more discretion From 2003 to 2009,
resident tuition and fees have increased 78.4%, from 2003 to 2009, and up to 105% at
the University of Oklahoma, while the state’s per capita personal income has risen by
only 42.5% during the same period.

From 2003 to 2009 state appropriations to higher education have increased by 27.1%
which total state appropriations have increased by only 26.3%.

Extensive educational research, such as scientific studies conducted by Heller in 1997,
by Leslie & Brinkman in 1988, and by Jackson & Weathersby in 1975, have shown that
such dramatic increases have a significant and measurable impact – affecting three
decisions students make: 1) whether to enroll in college (access); 2) what institution to
attend (choice); and 3) whether to continue their enrollment (persistence). The impact
of such dramatic increases in tuition and fees most strongly affects minorities and low
income students.

Approval

Unanimous




                                           9
                2008-2009 Student Advisory Board Activities


Monthly Meetings. Beginning in May, 2008, members of the Board met monthly, with
the exception of July, December, and March, to receive orientation, discuss work plans,
and prepare and vote on recommendations.

State Regents, COSA and COI Meetings. The Chair Rose Lynch and Vice Chair
Nicholas Harrison of the Board often attended meetings of the Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education and the Council on Student Affairs. Chair and Vice Chair also
made presentations at the Council on Student Affairs and Council on Instruction
meetings.

State Regents Tuition Hearing. The Chair, Rose Lynch, and Vice-Chair, Nicholas
Harrison, attended and participated in the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher
Education Tuition Hearing in Oklahoma City on April 29, 2009.

CLASS Task Force. Member Adam Lovell regularly attended meetings of the Campus
Life and Safety and Security Task Force.

Higher Education Day at the State Capitol. Members of the Board traveled to the
State Capitol on February 10, 2009, to assist the state higher education community in
representing The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education’s concerns to state
legislators and Governor Henry.

Student Leadership Retreat. All members of the Board worked in conjunction with the
State Regents Council on Student Affairs and the Oklahoma Student Government
Association to host the Eighth Annual Oklahoma Student Leadership Retreat that took
place October 2-3, 2008 in Tulsa. As Chair of the Board, Rose Lynch served on the
Planning Committee for the 2009 Student Leadership Retreat.

Oklahoma Student Government Association Conferences. Members of the Board
attended the annual OSGA fall and spring conferences at the State Capitol in Oklahoma
City and at Oklahoma City University.

Campus Visits. In addition to representing the students at the institutions in their tier,
Members Adam Lovell and Evan Schwenk each visited another college to gain a
broader insight into student concerns.




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