Creamer: tuition likely to rise in fall

Jackie Valley

Vice President David Creamer told the Undergraduate Student Senate yesterday Kent State’s increase in tuition next year will be “no greater than 3 percent.”

The Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed a version of the state budget yesterday, which calls for a maximum 3 percent increase in tuition the upcoming academic year and a zero percent increase the following year. The House’s budget plan reverses Gov. Strickland’s original plan to freeze tuition for the upcoming academic year and allow up to a 3 percent increase the following year.

Creamer said he will recommend a 3 percent tuition increase to the Board of Trustees later this month. It would raise tuition from $4,215 to $4,341 — an increase of $126.

However, Creamer said the Ohio Senate must first pass a version of the budget in late May, and then, both the House and Senate must enter into conference to determine a final version of the bill. If passed by the Ohio General Assembly, Gov. Strickland must sign the bill into law.

Creamer said since the Senate’s decision has not been made yet, the university’s plan to increase tuition by 3 percent could change. He said Kent State plans to comply with whatever legislation is signed into law.

“Our issue is we don’t know how the final bill will be,” he said.

As a result, Creamer said the university is announcing the tentative tuition increase to alert students of the maximum increase before tuition bills arrive in July.

“I think it’s important to communicate this information to the students so they can plan for tuition in the fall,” he said.

Initially, Creamer said Gov. Strickland introduced the bill as a compact, meaning universities that complied with the proposed tuition freeze would receive a five percent increase in state appropriations and universities that chose to raise tuition would not receive an appropriations increase.

Now, however, Creamer said the bill proposed by the House does not give universities that option.

Under the House’s version of the bill, universities would receive a two percent increase in state appropriations, but they could not raise tuition more than three percent for the upcoming academic year. Then, the tuition freeze would be implemented the following year with a 10 percent increase in state appropriations.

Even so, Creamer said the final outcome of the bill could still include an option for universities depending on what the Senate decides.

Executive Director Katie Hale said she worried the proposed tuition freeze may negatively impact students if the university needs to make cuts.

But, Creamer said, at this point, the university does not have any significant cuts planned. If cuts need to be made in the future, he said the administration tries to avoid making cuts directly related to students’ educational experience at Kent State.

“Our priority is always to first ensure the quality needed to have a good educational experience here,” he said.

In addition, Creamer debunked the idea that next year’s cost increases for room and board and parking permits are related to the proposed cap on tuition increases. He said rates for room and board, parking and tuition are all evaluated separately in determining the increase.

“The things that drive the cost changes are different,” he said, adding the rise in energy costs and the minimum wage raise were the main factors in the room and board increase.

Hale said although students tend to cringe when a tuition increased is announced, she thinks it is necessary.

“Kent State needs to be competitive not only on an affordability scale, but also on a quality scale,” she said.

Also at the final meeting of the academic year yesterday, USS unanimously approved three resolutions:

  • “Endorsement of Michael Pfahl” for Ward 5 of Kent City Council in the upcoming primary election May 8.
  • “Condolences for Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University” — a formal condolence on behalf of the Kent State undergraduate student body to be sent to Virginia Tech with signed posters and scrapbooks and donations made by Kent State students.
  • “Kent State University and Student Communication by Mobile Campus” — a suggestion urging the administration to use Mobile Campus to notify students in the event of an emergency on campus.

The next senate meeting is June 6 at 5 p.m. in the governance chambers of the Student Center. A second summer meeting is scheduled for July 11 at 5 p.m.

Contact student politics reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].