SOU Board of Trustees President Wants to Build Long-Term Fiscal Resilience

ASHLAND, Ore. — The President of the Southern Oregon University (SOU), Rick Bailey (Richard J. Bailey, Jr.), is on a mission to implement an entrepreneurial fiscal scheme that will pave the way for future financial resilience.

SOU has the lowest financial reserves of all seven public state universities which Bailey hopes to turn around over the next 20 years with a long-term fiscal approach.


Campus Conversation on May 21 is the First Step in Bailey’s Plan

The first step in Bailey’s fiscal planning scheme will be a campus conversation scheduled at 12.30 p.m. on May 21 at the SOU Stevenson Union’s Rogue River Room. Bailey says it is important to discuss a pathway to reach the end goal of fiscal resilience.

The SOU Board of Trustees wants to hear the opinions and suggestions of students, staff, and faculty to plan a reserve fund for the way forward, says Bailey. He says SOU must have sufficient fiscal resilience to thrive long-term if it is to remain vibrant for the next 10 to 15 decades.


Board of Trustees Viewpoint

At a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, members postponed the implementation of a reserve fund financial stability target. Board member Daniel Santos says they are not looking at cutbacks to achieve a stability target, but rather at increased enrollments and other revenue-generating ideas.

Associate Professor Bret Anderson, who serves on the SOU budget committee, also voiced concerns, adding that Bailey’s proposal made him nervous.

Anderson told the board meeting that he was not concerned about reaching ‘a place of stability,’ but rather that these efforts could ‘sink the ship.’ Anderson expressed the opinion that innovation and growth unintentionally threatened the SOU budget and suggested that members of the Board of Trustees ‘sleep on it.’

But Bailey assured the meeting that his goals were to fatten the reserve funds and not slim it down with cutbacks.

Bailey also told the trustees that the solution did not lie if adopting austerity measures but rather called for an entrepreneurial approach.


SOU Reserve Fund Lowest of All 7 Oregon Public Universities

Currently, SOU has a reserve fund of between $6 and $7 million, the lowest of all seven public universities in the state. The end-goal is to reach a reserve fund of between $20 and $22 million, according to the university’s president, Rick Bailey. The budget for SOU’s 2023-24 budget year is $64 million. To achieve Bailey’s goal, the reserve fund will have to be boosted by more than 30%.

Universities aim to hold 40% of operating budgets in their reserve funds, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Bailey wants SOU to reach the 40% national standard but concedes that this would be a long-term and not an overnight goal. The SOU Board of Trustees wants to achieve the national standard by 2038.



  • Southern Oregon University is ranked #69 in the 2024 Best Colleges in the West rankings.
  • State tuition at SOU costs $11,691.
  • SOU acceptance rate is 92%.
  • Its undergraduate enrollment was 4,273 (fall 2022).
  • SOU was founded in 1872 as the Ashland Academy.
  • SOU relocated to its 175-acre campus in 1926.
  • SOU had nine other names before its current name was adopted in 1997.
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