Board of Trustees approves room and board increase, creates School of Digital Science

Julie Sickel

In Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, board members voted the approval of an increase in room and board rates.

The increase raises standard, undergraduate double-room and board rates by 5.4 percent effective Fall 2011. Increases will vary by dormitory and room size, but none will exceed 6 percent.

President Lester Lefton said the rates increase is due largely to a rise in food costs, infrastructure changes and the cost of running the dormitories.

“You can’t just build a building and never fix it up,” Lefton said. “Heating systems fail, cooling systems fail.”

Board of Trustee Approvals:

  • Increase in room and board rates
  • Change in student program and course fees
  • Establishment of the School of Digital Sciences
  • Approval of an experiential learning requirement
  • Creation of wine industry majors at Ashtabula
  • Establishment of a hospitality management major
  • Upgrade of telecommunications infrastructure equipment
  • Planning for an energy-conservation project

Board members also approved an increase in program and course fees for students. The only program spared by the increase is the College of the Arts, which already requires an additional $100 fee.

“There are some things that we have not done in the past that we would like to be able to do,” Lefton said. “So we are inching the fees up a little bit so that we can continue to provide the services that we would like to provide.”

Lefton gave the creation of a career center in the College of Business Administration as an example of what the university could provide with the additional revenue from fees.

“Our fees overall, when you compare our fees to our sister schools, are significantly lower,” Lefton said. “For example, I believe that the University of Akron, overall, brings in about $17 million more in fees than Kent State University. Our fee structure has been relatively low for a very long time.”

The fees for each academic course are visible on a student’s bill, so students aren’t surprised when registering for classes, Lefton said.

The meeting also approved the creation of a new School of Digital Science. The program will launch in Fall 2011 and be a stand-alone unit independent of any existing college.

“The establishment of the School of Digital Sciences and establishing a digital sciences major will place us clearly in the forefront with those kinds of digital opportunities that our students need to be prepared for,” said Dennis Eckart, chairperson of the Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee.

In addition, the Board approved an experiential learning requirement for freshmen entering Kent State in Fall 2012. Under the new requirement, students must participate in activities such as community service, undergraduate research and internships in order to gain “real-world” experience.

Contact Julie Sickel at [email protected].