KSU officials praise focus on education

Tim Magaw

It’s projected that Kent State would receive $4.8 million more in state funding if the university agreed to Gov. Ted Strickland’s proposed freeze on next year’s tuition.

However, Kent State would have about $4 million less than if tuition were raised by 6 percent as it has been in the last two years, said David Creamer, senior vice president for administration. The projection is based on the Kent campus’ general fund budget, which amounts to about $280 million.

Despite the loss of money resulting from no tuition raise, Creamer said agreeing to the freeze is still likely.

“I think the reason we would still agree to it is because the governor is focused on the right issue,” he said. “We have a shared set of goals we will try to work toward in the future.”

One of the goals the governor and the university share is lowering the cost of education.

“We’re concerned about the cost of tuition for students the way the governor is,” Creamer said. “We want to find ways to lessen that burden.”

Kelly Sylvester, sophomore interior design major, said the freeze makes sense.

“It’s beneficial for the kids that have a hard time paying for school,” she said.

President Lester Lefton said rising costs, such as health care, technology and faculty salaries, could make things difficult because of the lost money, adding that “we won’t be able to keep up.”

“We just balance our budget,” he said. “We don’t have money left over.”

Keith Dailey, spokesman for Strickland, said the governor intends to work with the universities, not against them. He said the purpose of Strickland’s higher education compact, which was announced at the State of the State address March 14, is to make education in Ohio more accessible.

Joe Cola, senior visual communication design major, said he’s upset at the fact that tuition keeps rising because students aren’t making more money.

“It comes to the fact that everything is getting more expensive,” he said. “People aren’t making more money. It’s just like gas prices. Prices have tripled since I started driving.”

Alex Brasure, senior visual communication design major, agreed with Cola that tuition needs to stop getting more expensive.

“If school isn’t affordable, they’re not going to have students,” he said.

Creamer said the governor’s focus on higher education is an appropriate agenda.

“(The tuition freeze) lessens the burden on how much work you need to incorporate with your education,” he said. “There’s a point where families can’t afford the type of education they would prefer.”

Dailey said 400,000 students across the state will be impacted by the compact, adding the average tuition increase across the state has been 9 percent since 1996.

Lefton said he’s optimistic about Strickland’s decision to place higher education as a priority.

“Ideally, the state of Ohio has to make a strong commitment to public higher education because states that invest in higher education are economically in much better shape,” he said.

Lefton said sharp, consistent funding for research universities such as Kent State is needed because they create the leaders, business entrepreneurs and start-up companies Ohio desperately needs.

Lefton said it’s hard to comment on the proposal without having all the details, especially without knowing what the Ohio General Assembly will do with it.

“The legislature could make it worse. They could make it better,” he said. “We don’t have a bill. We have a proposal.”

By the numbers


Full-time 2006-07 KSU tuition


Full-time 1996-97 KSU tuition

9 percent

Annual increase in state tuition since 1996

$4.8 million

Projected additional state funding KSU

would receive if it agrees to Gov. Strickland’s proposed freeze on next year’s tuition

Contact administration reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].