Kent State trustees raise out-of-state and graduate tuition, push for research

Susan+J.+Stocker+dean+at+Kent+State+University+at+Ashtabula+talks+to+the+Board+of+Trustees+on+Wednesday%2C+May+31%2C+2017

Susan J. Stocker dean at Kent State University at Ashtabula talks to the Board of Trustees on Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alicia Krynock

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved new tuition rates and proposed initiatives to focus on developing research and resources at the university in June.

The trustees approved the decision to freeze in-state undergraduate tuition for the 2017-18 academic year, but out-of-state residents and graduate students will see a rise in their costs.

In-state graduate student and out-of-state undergraduate student tuition will increase two percent, equaling $84 more each semester. Out-of-state graduate student tuition will increase 10 percent, which is about $37 more per credit hour. 

This follows Gov. John Kasich’s January action to freeze in-state tuition until the budget is determined June 30. The board also approved a 1.83 percent increase in room and board rates March 2, which take effect Fall 2017.

TUITION CHANGES

  • Ohio Undergraduates: tuition frozen at current level of $5,006 per semester

  • Out-of-state Undergraduates: two percent raise, $84 more per semester

  • Ohio Graduate Students: two percent raise, $10 per credit hour

  • Out-of-state Graduate Students: 10 percent raise, $37 more per credit hour

A lack of available funding from the state is one of the primary challenges Kent State President Beverly Warren addressed, citing the continued decline in state and federal funding.

“We’re in a headwind right now, and when you’re in the headwind you really have to stay focused,” Warren said. “This is not going to turn the corner, which means we must increase our funding efforts.”

As Ohio legislatures debate the education budget for this year, the board decided to wait to propose the 2017-2018 university budget. The budget, though typically discussed in the May trustee meeting, was tabled until the next meeting Sept. 13.

Warren pushed for greater fundraising efforts; She said she hopes to double the university’s fundraising efforts this year.

“Our endowment is lower than our peers and lower than it should be for a great university like Kent State,” Warren said.

She said she hopes to launch the university’s largest fundraising campaign. The goal is to raise the endowment to $230 million by 2021.

The last major fundraiser, the Centennial campaign, launched by former President Lester Lefton, raised over $256 million for the university.

The board also approved a separation plan for faculty who have worked at the university for at least 15 years or are eligible to retire. Faculty may sign this year and separate on May 31, 2018, whereupon they will begin receiving monthly payments that cover up to a year of salary.

In 2009, the university offered a similar separation plan to over 1,000 staff members. At the last trustee meeting March 2, the university offered another separation plan to staff, which ended May 31 and will take effect July 1 this year. 

This faculty buyout offer is part of the university’s mission to expand research at Kent State. The money saved from the separation contracts will be put towards hiring tenure-track, research-active faculty. The university intends to recruit more professors — attempting to raise the percentage of tenure-track from 55 to 65 by 2021 — who will bring grants to Kent State, and has proposed spending up to $18.6 million to recruit new researchers.

For the upcoming year, Warren said she hopes to see a 20-25 percent increase in research funding.

The trustees also approved changing the name of The College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology to the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. This change is meant to emphasize Kent State’s growing STEM field and aeronautics programs.

The aeronautics program at Kent State is the longest-standing, fully-accredited Aviation Accreditation Board International program in Ohio.

The university hopes this name change will reflect the specialized programs Kent State offers, and bring attention to the growing engineering school, according to a Kent State news release.

Alicia Krynock is the administration reporter, contact her at [email protected]