Board of Trustees votes to raise tuition, room and board rates

Textile-arts professor Janice Lessman-Moss said shes delighted that the art building is receiving some attention during the Board of Trustees meeting on March 14. Lessman-Moss said she uses a computer lab in the art building for one of her classes. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Textile-arts professor Janice Lessman-Moss said she’s delighted that the art building is receiving some attention during the Board of Trustees meeting on March 14. Lessman-Moss said she uses a computer lab in the art building for one of her classes. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Rex Santus

Full-time undergraduates returning to Kent State next year will be paying even more for their education and on-campus housing — at least $673 more, to be exact.

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved tuition and room and board increases, as well as a $170 million bond request to the state and a new insurance studies major, among other things.

Room and board, tuition increases

The board voted to increase tuition by 3.5 percent, the second consecutive year the university has increased tuition the maximum percentage permitted by the state.

A full-time undergraduate student can expect to pay at least $327 more per year ($9,673 total) for tuition, beginning in the 2013 school year.

“Things just cost more today than they did 10 years ago,” said President Lester Lefton. “The state has cut our [financial] support consistently for the last three decades, and unfortunately this is a national trend that is putting a burden on students.”

Lefton said he “expect[s] every other university in Ohio to have some increase [in tuition].”

“The truth is, in Ohio, most of the schools are very similar in tuition [rates],” Lefton said. “After you account for all the money we put towards student scholarships, very few students at Kent State pay sticker price.”

Trustees voted to increase room and board by a combined 3.92 percent, meaning a full-time undergraduate student with standard room and board rates can expect to pay at least $346 more per year.

The price increase is designed to “allow the university to continue operating its high-quality residence and dining programs on a self-sufficient basis while keeping room and board affordable for students and their families,” according to the university’s press release.

Bond request and university improvements

Administrators amended the university’s $210 million bond proposal, a loan request to the state to finance renovations at the university, by cutting the amount to $170 million, which was approved by the board.

In addition, the university has eliminated the “special fees” it planned to charge students to pay back the bonds.

“We determined an alternative way to fund these bonds, and we’re having to do it within our own budget without any special fees with students,” Lefton said. “This doesn’t really allow us to complete as many projects as we would like to.”

Lefton said the university has not decided on how the potential bond money would be used.

“I think it’s very likely you will see new buildings, although what those new buildings are is not yet determined,” Lefton said. “…We’ve begun meeting with the board to discuss this over the next four or five weeks. I expect we will have another couple of meetings to finalize the list because we want to get going on these projects.”

Potential renovation projects

Some of this information is from earlier reporting with Tom Euclide, associate vice president of facilities at Kent State.

Van Deusen Hall

In February, Tom Euclide said the university wanted to condense the architecture major into one building, instead of its current three. Because Kent State only received capital funding recommendations for STEM departments, the architecture building, at the moment, has no funding for renovations — unless some of the $170 million is used for this project.

The clock tower

The university’s plans to expand Risman Plaza and build a clock tower in front of the Student Center have been postponed. “The bids for the entire project, including the clock tower, came in at more than we anticipated they would,” Lefton said. “The tower will be built, just not this year — maybe not next year. We will get to it.”

The Child Development Center

“The Child Development Center…needs new windows, needs new lawns for kids,” Lefton said. “…It needs upgrades. It’s such a great facility.”

The Art Building

Euclide said the Art Building needs to be improved or even replaced. “The Art Building was built in 1970,” Euclide said. “It’s very energy-inefficient. It’s basically a glorified tent. There’s not a lot of insulation there. The building is just in bad shape. It’s just plain falling apart.”

Williams Hall

The board voted to allow a $3 million project to transform a 5,000-square-foot library inside Williams Hall into a multi-disciplinary research lab, a university press release said. The area will be used during the renovations of Williams Hall, Cunnigham Hall and Smith hall [which all received recommendations for capital funding].

New and inactivated majors

The board voted to implement two new majors — insurance studies and computer science as a Bachelor of Arts degree. It already is available as a Bachelor of Science degree.

The undergraduate insurance studies major will be offered at the regional Salem campus, but future expansion to other campuses is a possibility, the board said.

Insurance is one of Ohio’s major employers, the list of resolutions said. There are 251 insurance companies with more than 96,000 employees and $6 billion in wages.

The new computer science degree was designed to “complement” the already available Bachelor of Science degree of that major. The program will require no additional staff.

The board also voted to inactivate numerous majors, including musicology-ethnomusicology, the school of health education major, diagnostic medical sonography, nuclear medicine technology, radiation therapy technology, Latin and theatre studies.

The Board of Trustees will meet at its next business meeting in June.

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].


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