Big bucks in the Buckeye state

Nicole Stempak

Despite average cost to educate, Ohio’s tuition still ranks third highest

Ohio’s tuition is the third highest in the nation, even though it has not increased in the past two years.

Students who attend college in Ohio can expect to pay about $2,600 more than the national average, according to the 2007-2008 tuition and fee rates study by the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The statistics reflect averages of each state’s comprehensive four-year undergraduate resident tuition fees. Five Ohio universities were calculated, but Kent State was not among them.

“The reason we have to charge more than the other states is because the state provides less support,” President Lester Lefton said. “But it is very, very important. It costs no more to educate students in Ohio than it does in Texas, Virginia, Florida or California. Our salaries aren’t higher. Our physical plan costs aren’t higher. The actual cost of education to the institution is about the same as the national average.”

About 37 percent of Kent State’s budget for this year comes from the state.

Gov. Ted Strickland first implemented the tuition freeze for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 school year.

In Strickland’s State of the State address this January, he proposed to extend the tuition freeze for a third year at university main campuses.

“This is a huge headache,” said Lefton, who came to Kent State in summer 2006, just before the tuition freeze began. “We have less money now than we did when I came here, relatively speaking. Our costs have gone up. Faculty have gotten raises. Staff have got salary raises. Electricity costs more. Gas costs more. Medical insurance costs more, and yet the bulk of our revenue has stayed flat.”

Lefton compared the tuition freeze to a child’s allowance. If parents give their children $50 a week to live on but costs keep rising, children will fall short of their budget, he said. The same goes for the university.

Contact administration reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].