Ohio schools balance state funds, tuition

Tim Magaw

One of students’ biggest misconceptions about tuition is that they are paying the total cost of their education, said David Creamer, senior vice president for administration.

But the state also pays.

“Someone else is a partner in this contract,” Creamer said. “When they continue to contribute less, it means students are paying more.”

During the last few years, the state has contributed significantly less funding to universities, and students are feeling the punch. Creamer said the average tuition increase at Kent State has been about 6 percent. Tuition for the 2006-2007 school year is $8,430.

Andy Vanek, sophomore integrated mathematics major, said tuition prices are too high, and the large gap between student wages and college costs are a problem.

“I don’t exactly agree with the inflation of tuition the way it is,” he said. “It’s inflating way too much.”

Creamer said several factors determine the price of tuition, including Gov. Ted Strickland’s budget, which will be released March 15 and will indicate how much additional funding the university could receive. In setting tuition prices, the university also takes internal costs into account.

Creamer said it will be about six or seven weeks before the university knows how students’ bills will look next semester.

“It’s very much up in the air right now,” Creamer said. “We don’t have much guidance.”

The University of Toledo has already determined that it won’t increase tuition for in-state undergraduate students for Fall 2007.

President Lester Lefton is skeptical about Toledo’s decision, pointing out that it’s only for the fall semester.

“Although it’s a nice gesture, the loss in revenue will be felt someplace,” Lefton said.

Matt Lockwood, university spokesman for Toledo, said the loss in revenue can’t be determined yet because it depends largely on tuition caps set by Strickland.

Creamer said there are ways to make higher education more affordable, but the quality of education could suffer. The hiring of skilled faculty members is one of those internal costs that affects the quality of a student’s education.

“You have to leave here prepared,” he said. “It doesn’t do any good for you just to leave with a piece of paper.”

Contact administration reporter Tim Magaw at [email protected].