Students protest $440-credit-hour charge with petition

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Rex Santus

Students are rallying on Facebook, Twitter and other websites to protest the Board of Trustees’ decision to charge students for each credit hour they register past 17.

By press time Thursday, 1,386 people had signed the Internet petition protesting the university’s new $440 fee.

An email, originally sent to Honors College students, made its way around the university yesterday warning students to be prepared to pay extra money if they planned on registering for more than 17 credit hours.

Emily Vincent, director of University Media Relations, said by email, “With regards to the online petition, the president doesn’t have a comment at this time.”

Three theatre studies majors decided the new fee was unfair and took action.

John Liptak posted about the new fee on Facebook, and most students had never heard of the new credit-hour charge.

“I’m not in the Honors College, so [if I wouldn’t have found out about the email], I would have had no idea and just had $1,200 tacked onto my tuition,” Liptack said. “When I found out, then it was like, we need to spread the word, and we need to let people know.”

After Liptak sparked conversation about the fee on various social media websites, Michael Crowley created the petition on and the Facebook event “Petition against credit hour price increase.”

At press time, the Facebook event had almost 2,500 invitees.

“I’ve been leading the charge for getting information out there,” Liptak said. “We’ve been inviting pretty much everyone we can on Facebook [to sign the petition].”

Rachel Meyer said she also contributed to spreading the word about the petition.

“We found [the charge] very unacceptable, and we decided the petition would be the best way to get people to know about it,” Meyer said. “Right now, it’s the only way our voices are being heard.”

Crowley said each time 500 signatures are accumulated, emails are sent to President Lefton, the Board of Trustees, the provost and the Ohio Board of Regents.

Crowley said he is uncertain about what the petition will accomplish, but he thinks it is important for students to be heard.

“We put the petition up at 7 p.m., and [we’ve accumulated these signatures] in less than 24 hours,” Crowley said. “I don’t think this petition, in particular, will change their minds, but it’s definitely spreading awareness because not a lot of people knew this change was occurring.”

Liptak said he was excited about how much momentum the petition has gained in such a short time.

“It gets us doing something as a generation because some people say we’re so lethargic about everything,” Liptak said. “And it’s just extra money [we don’t have]. We’re in a really tough time. The more we can do to save money, the better.”

Michael Crowley, freshman musical theatre major, started a petition on

“I really dislike it. As a musical theatre major, I have to, in order to graduate in four years, I have to have 18-, like 19-, sometimes like 20- [or] 22- credit-hour loads. All of my semesters will be up in that range from 17 to 22 just because of my LERs and my core requirements and then my major requirements on top of dance classes to improve my dancing or extra–applied voice classes. It’s just necessary for me to take those, and if I have to pay extra over what I’m paying for tuition, I don’t really think that’s fair because when you add up the credit hours and how much money it costs, it really adds a lot to the tuition bill. It’s hard enough for some of my friends to come here anyway. It’s a public university, so it should be cheaper but it’s kind of raising the prices. I know that this is a problem with a lot of other majors.”

Rachel Meyer, junior musical theatre major:

“I think it was a pretty sneaky thing to do with the way that they’re not telling us. The fact that they announced it after we had already scheduled our classes for next semester, and that we’re already in the middle of our education and things have been planned out … There’s too many people who want to double major and have minors, and even like our specific roadmap says that you have to get like 18 credit hours some semesters, and that’s already over. Then my senior year, that’ll be like two credits over, like seriously. They could have handled it by making the cap higher at 19 or 20, which would have been more acceptable. Or they could have phased in the $440 by saying, ‘OK, this year it’s going to be an extra $50’ or even $100 would be doable.”

Kayla Zatezalo, sophomore crafts major:

“Well, I don’t plan on taking more than 17 credit hours next year. I think it’s kind of crappy that the school forces you to take within a certain number of classes, like a certain number of credit hours, because some classes will be like four credit hours and that’ll push you over that one credit hour. It will be extra fees that you have to pay. It’s just more money that they squeeze out of you.”

Erika Walesch, junior photo illustration major:

“I’m not taking over 17 either so it doesn’t really affect me, but I think it’s kind of ridiculous that they’re making us pay more just because we want to take more classes. Like maybe someone’s trying to graduate a year early, and they need to take more and then they have to pay more for it, that seems kind of mean I guess.”

Alex Rudewicz, freshman air traffic control major:

“I just feel like you’re already here. Like especially for out-of-state students, the tuition is already pretty high, and I feel since you’re already here, you’re already spending you’re time and money doing things, you really shouldn’t be charged extra just to kind of get ahead or do things you have to do I suppose. I just feel like it’s not fair in a sense.”

Cody Prelec, freshman flight technology major:

“Well, I have to take 18 credit hours most of the rest of my time here, so I mean it’s going to affect me quite a bit. I mean, the university is a business, and if that’s what they have to do to make money, then, I mean, it’s understandable, but if they’re just raising it just to raise it. I don’t know the whole story though.”

Tim Lewis, senior nursing major:

“Well, I’m at the moment an out-of-state student. So what everyone keeps talking about predominately is how much credit is going to go up for in-state. And I understand that Kent is in a really sticky situation because it’s losing a lot of funding from the state and everything’s getting more expensive, inflation, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But for how much it’s going to cost me to continue to go here if I were to ever need to take more than 16 credits, which I have a minor on top of my major of nursing, it may get really pricey for me to stay, to continue to go here. It’s just part of the reason I chose Kent State was even though that’s still out-of-state tuition, it’s a good deal for out-of-state tuition. And the program here is fantastic. I don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount of money to finish my program.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].