New state budget calls for tuition freeze

Austin Bennett

Kent State’s tuition for in-state undergraduate students will not rise for the next two years as a result of Ohio’s new state budget, which mandates universities put a freeze on their tuition charge.

As the rising cost of attending college and student debt became issues nationally, the budget, which went into effect July 1, restricts tuition increases for in-state undergraduate at state-funded two- and four-year schools.

Affordability and accessibility have been a very high priority for Gov. John Kasich, according to Jeff Robinson, director of communications for the Department of Education.

“The fact that we are continuing to put money into higher education in the budget shows that dedication to making higher ed more accessible and more affordable for students,” Robinson said.

Many states, such as Louisiana and Wisconsin, are cutting state funding for higher education, but Ohio is increasing its funding over the next two years.

There will be a 4.5 percent increase in the 2016 fiscal year and another 4 percent increase in fiscal year 2017.

Ohio’s 37 public colleges and universities are also tasked with finding a way to cut cost for all students by five percent. This plan must be submitted to the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents by Oct. 15.

“The university administration will be working on a plan for a five percent reduction in the student cost of earning a degree,” said Lisa J. Reifsnyder, Kent State senior associate vice president for finance and administration. “A plan will be finalized prior to that date.”

While tuition is frozen for in-state undergraduate students, tuition will increase for out-of-state students by 3 percent per semester, and the graduate student rate will increase by 2 percent per semester.

The Kent State Board of Trustees set these tuition rates at the June meeting. Kent State will face a $3.1 million loss this year, as the university also opted to eliminate the 16-credit hour cap at the meeting. The cap now sits at 18 credit hours.

“The financial impact of this change will be covered through cost-cutting measures that will be developed over the next several months,” Reifsnyder said.

Contact Austin Bennett at [email protected]