(Orientation Issue) Allocating student tuition dollars: A breakdown of university expenses

Cameron Gorman

According to Collegeboard, the cost of college has been on a steady rise since the mid-’70s, with the cost of tuition and related fees in the 2015-2016 school year rising nearly 10 percent higher than last year’s combined cost. 

College is becoming—more and more so—something that is a careful and sometimes unsure investment. With tuition costs at an all-time high, what, exactly, is the university using that money for?

Each year, Kent State creates and releases a budget, designed to help map out university expenditures and future plans. The University Budget Office is responsible for overseeing the annual budget creation process, monitoring fiscal matters and analyzing income and expenditures. Last year’s 2015 budget is available for review online at the Budget Office section of Kent State website, offering a look into the sometimes-fabled causes our tuition dollars fund.

As of the 2015 Fiscal Year Budget (total university)…

The university had a total of $408,085,685 in tuition and fees—a 2.8 percent increase in funds generated from the prior year, or $11,017,515. The funds from tuition payments combined with the funds from from other areas of the university, including educational revenues, investment income and state appropriations (given by the Ohio Board of Regents) equalled a grand total of $648,100,738.

Using this total, the university then breaks up its expenditures in the following ways:

  1. A total of $496,078,608, or about 76.5 percent of the total funds available, is spent on Education & General Expenditures, with $371,111,467 allocated for the Kent Campus, $111,848,551 for the regional campuses, and $13,118,590 spent on the College of Podiatric Medicine. This money is used to pay staff salaries and wages, benefits in each area of study, as well as “other expenditures,” including travel, printing, business related hospitality, rentals, postage and other miscellaneous expenses.

  2. For example, on the Kent Campus, $2,241,090 is spent on the history department— $1,621,191 on salaries and wages, $604,099 on benefits, and $15,800 on other expenses. E&G also includes expenditures on programs such as Transfer Kent State and services like care of grounds.

  3. $103,768,817 is spent on Auxiliary Enterprises Expenditures—about 16 percent of funds. Auxiliary Expenses include operation of bookstores and performing arts salaries, wages and benefits on regional campuses.

  4. Finally, the budget records $48,253,313 in transfers—in and out—of each campus, including money spent on Education and General Expenses and Auxiliary Enterprises at all campuses. This comprises about 7.5 percent of the budget.

Kent State breaks up its expenditures in a variety of ways, but it does utilize (or in the budget’s terms, apply) $648,100,738 dollars through all campuses—all of the available funds from both tuition, fees and other sources of income. The majority of money is spent on Education and General Expenditures, meaning your tuition dollar is mainly spent on staff wages, campus services, scholarships and other business expenses.