Changes to course fees, new campus solar array project approved by Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees approved two new institutes in a Zoom meeting Wednesday, March 10. The trustees also approved changes in course fees and the addition of new campus solar array project. 

Emma Andrus Reporter

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the removal and addition of numerous course-related fees alongside the implementation of a solar array at its March 10 meeting

The changes to programming course fees are intended to “achieve the learning outcomes of the courses,” said Melody Tankersley, senior vice president and provost. 

“We recommend eliminating approximately 70 fees, moving approximately 80 fees from specific amount cost to an actual cost basis, to decrease two fees and [the] addition of approximately 70 new fees,” Tankersley said. 

Some of these fees include those to cover expenses for field-based labs, course experiences and materials used in specific courses. Fifty of the 70 new fees will cover the replacement and repair of materials for physical wellness courses. 

“Increases in the course fees are typically only considered when five years have passed between increases, and only when the cost for the particular items have increased during that time frame,” Tankersley said. 

The fees will become effective in the fall of 2021, said Trustee Stephen Perry. 

Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine, one of nine accredited schools of its kind in the U.S., will experience a two percent increase in tuition and fee rate structure beginning in May 2021, the start of its academic year. This fee increase is applicable to both in-state and out-of-state students. 

“The colleges tuition ranks fourth among its peers, and it is anticipated this proposed increase will not change that rank,” said Mark Polatajko, senior vice president for Finance and Administration. “The proposed fees are appropriate and necessary to maintain quality service level and market competitiveness.” 

The Board also approved the implementation of the university’s new solar array project. Kent State’s regional campuses began adding additional renewable energy sources with the Board’s approval in 2020, but Doug Pearson, the associate vice president of Facilities Planning and Operations, said he “does not know of any other university” that has anything similar. 

The installation will be located on East Street between Loop Road and State Route 261. Construction is expected to last approximately one year, at which point solar energy will begin generating. It will generate 11 megawatts of solar power, including the five megawatts the regional campuses provide, Pearson said.

The Board approved entrance into an agreement with a vendor, American Electric Power OnSite Partners LLC.

“The system is projected to save an average of $250,000 annually, or a total of $5 million over the contract,” Perry said. “I think it’s very commendable. Not only is it energy, we’re saving money on energy in the long-run, but it’s an educational tool for students, visitors and everybody who knows anything about Kent State.”

Emma Andrus covers administration. Contact her at [email protected]