Costs increasing in Ohio public colleges

Ben Breier

College students in Ohio and at Kent State have watched repeated funding cuts and tuition increases strain their budgets for several years.

But now someone else is taking notice.

In its annual report on college pricing, the College Board, the non-profit company that owns the SAT, found that Ohio’s average public college tuition is the sixth highest in the nation for four-year colleges and the fifth highest for two-year colleges.

Average tuition at a four-year public college in Ohio for the 2005-2006 school year is $7,040, compared to the national average of $5,491.

“This isn’t something that has happened in the last few years,” said David Creamer, vice president for Administration at Kent State. “This is a three or four decade old issue.”

There are signs that the problem may be lessening. The average increase in tuition costs across the nation for this school year was 7 percent, the smallest increase in the past four years.

Ohio’s average increase at a four-year public school also was 7 percent for 2005-2006.

Attending a two-year public college in Ohio costs $3,650, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. The national average went up 5 percent to $2,191.

“It’s depressing,” senior nutrition major Brionna Pryor said. “I don’t understand why it costs so much (in Ohio) and why Kent costs even more than the state average.”

State funding has decreased in recent years, causing repeated increases in tuition at Kent State.

For full-time undergraduate students, the Kent campus and branch campus costs are above the state and national averages at $7,954 and $4,586 a year, respectively.

Kent State’s tuition increased 6 percent for the current school year, which Creamer said is the most allowed by law.

“I don’t think it should be our burden,” sophomore nutrition major Angie Liebermann said. “We have to focus on studying, not ‘Oh my gosh, I have to pay for school!'”

Pryor and Liebermann both said the increasing cost of tuition in Ohio will play a factor in where they choose to attend graduate school.

“You can move states, live there for a year, and pay what they pay,” Pryor said.

With this year’s increase, Kent State has the seventh-highest tuition of public colleges in Ohio. In the fall of 1998, the university was ranked second only to Miami University.

“Our increases have been substantial, and I’ll always accept that,” Creamer said. “But I will remind people that they have been slower.”

The College Board’s report wasn’t upsetting for all Ohio students.

Those attending private colleges are paying more than those at public universities, but their tuition is going up at a slower rate.

The average national tuition at private colleges increased only 5.9 percent to $21,235. Private colleges in Ohio charge an average of $18,910, a 6 percent increase from the 2004-2005 school year.

Contact general assignment reporter Leslie Schelat at [email protected].