Trustees increase room and board

Jenna Staul

Residence halls’ costs to go up 5.9 percent

Students will pay more to live in Kent State’s residence halls next year.

The Board of Trustees voted yesterday to raise standard room and board rates by 5.49 percent for the fall semester.

The rate of a standard double residence hall room will increase by 5.9 percent, while standard dining plans will increase by 4.85 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year.

President Lester Lefton told student media leaders in January that tuition would also increase by 3.5 percent next academic year. The university’s residence halls and dining program operate on a self-sufficient basis and are not connected to tuition rates or the university’s operating budget. The board will decide next year’s tuition later this year.

Trustee Jane Murphy Timken cited debt obligations, maintenance costs and rising food and utility prices as the reason for the increase.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing Kent State’s regional campus system, but the subject quickly turned to tackling Ohio’s low college graduation rates.

Trustee Dennis Eckart said Ohio “lacks a culture of college. There’s a real aspiration gap.”

He added that Kent State’s eight-campus system makes the university uniquely qualified to take on the state’s lack of college graduates, adding that the university should bring up the issue with Education Chancellor Eric Fingerhut and the Ohio Board of reagents.

“We might be a model for the university system in the state,” Eckart said.

A dean for each of the university’s eight branch campuses attended yesterday’s meeting, which centered largely around how the university can both bolster graduation rates at the branch campuses and funnel more students to the Kent campus.

“Everyone wants a quick fix,” said Lefton regarding low graduation rates. “The real problem is a culture change.”

Each dean reported a high number of students transferring out of branch campuses to other public colleges and universities rather than continuing their education at Kent State.

Lefton’s presentation proposed the addition of new baccalaureate programs to keep students in the university system.

“If they don’t get an education with us, they don’t get it at all,” said Gregg Andrews, dean of the Kent State Tuscarawas campus. “It’s imperative that we expand the baccalaureate degrees to serve the needs of the communities we serve. “

Contact administration reporter Jenna Staul at [email protected].