Stop asking students to sacrifice

DKS editors

Here’s a good financial rule for anybody: Don’t spend money you don’t have.

Kent State, however, is on track to spend a whole bunch of money it doesn’t have on campus renovations at a time when it’s unclear how much money will be coming in.

To ensure a revenue source, the Board of Trustees approved a $7-per-credit-hour fee that will start in 2012. By 2016, the fee will rise to $24 per credit hour, or $720 additional per year for a student who takes 15-credit semesters. Take 18, and you’re up to $864 a year.

Those fees will help pay off $250 million in bonds to renovate academic buildings.

You have to ask, is this the best time to be spending nine-digit figures on anything?

The state of Ohio faces a projected shortfall of $8 billion for its next budget term. When state money was tight before, Gov. Ted Strickland has spared higher education from cuts. It’s unclear whether that will be possible next year.

And if the state pinches funding to public universities, Kent State has only a few ways to recover the losses: cut salaries, cut jobs or charge students more. Tuition has already increased by 3.5 percent each of the last two years.

Students at Kent State cannot afford more fees.

By all means, make your renovations. But the administration should have looked for a more creative source of funding than dumping the cost onto students.

At this point only state officials can decide to spare Kent State students these fees. They can decide to approve the Board of Trustees’ decision, or they can recognize the immense cost of education and save us another expense.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.