Trustees discuss budget issues

Allison Smith

Class fees, Lefton raise among topics

The Kent State Board of Trustees held a special meeting yesterday to discuss the university budget and the increase in tuition.

On Monday, both houses of the Ohio legislature approved the state budget in which funding will be cut from the State Share of Instruction, or where state universities get their money.

President Lester Lefton said Kent State’s budget will be cut by four percent a year for the next two years. He said because of this, the tuition freeze, which has been in effect for the last two years, will be lifted.

Lefton said the university will attempt to keep the budget balanced despite the cuts.

“We have been able to continue to balance our budget by cutting costs,” Lefton said. “We have, as I think you’re very well aware, cut from our budget $5.6 million earlier this year by limited positions and by not hiring people that are not absolutely critical.”

The budget cuts will result in a $148 tuition increase per semester.

Lefton said if the university did not increase tuition, students would see diminished services.

He said the budget cuts will also affect the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, but he plans to set up a program for students who rely on OCOG.

Another expense students can look forward to next year is an increase in course fees. The fees will affect courses within the Colleges of Architecture and Environmental Design; Business Administration; Communication and Information; Education, Health and Human Services; Nursing; and the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

“These fees are necessary for the adequate delivery of these courses, new courses, new technologies,” Lefton said. “We think this is going to allow us to do things that we have not done before in a more efficient way that will meet student needs as well as college needs.”

The fees will be between $25 and $50 and will be non-refundable.

Lefton said after the tuition and fees increase, Kent State will still have lower costs than 10 other Ohio universities.

Lefton’s salary was also increased Tuesday night when the board unanimously agreed that he met his performance objectives by increasing retention and enrollment throughout the last year.

His salary will increase by three percent, which he will be donating to an endowed scholarship fund.

“I would like to commend President Lefton for his leadership,” Board Chair Patrick Mullin said. “I’m always very pleased with the results that are being accomplished across our eight campuses.”

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].