Tuition to increase 6 percent this fall

Amanda Garrett

Tuition will increase 6 percent for students for the 2005-2006 school year, the Kent State Board of Trustees decided at their May 26 meeting.

Fees for full-time resident undergraduate students will increase $225 per semester, rising from $3,752 to $3,977. Full-time resident graduates will pay an additional $240 per semester as their tuition increases from $3,990 to $4,230.

The primary reason for the increase is a lack of state funding, said David Creamer, vice president for administration.

In the past four years, the state of Ohio has cut funding for public colleges and universities to levels of the 1990s. State funding has dwindled from a high of $89,823,951 in fiscal year 2001 to $83,185,386 in fiscal year 2005. This is a lower funding amount than Kent State received in 1998, according to a chart distributed by the university.

Although the trustees increased tuition by the legal maximum, Kent State is still relatively affordable, Creamer said.

“Although state funds have continued to dwindle, we have improved our affordability,” Creamer said. “We have improved our costs among state universities from the second highest in the state in the fall of 1999 to the seventh highest in the fall of 2004. We’ve obviously improved our efficiency.

“We’ve had substantial tuition increases, but they’re less substantial than other universities,” Creamer said.

Trustees also discussed enrollment. Numbers are down slightly with 221 fewer students scheduled to attend the Kent campus this fall.

Although enrollment is important to maintaining a healthy budget, serving students is difficult without proper funding, Creamer said.

“Our costs have gone up while we are serving substantially more students, but we have to serve the students with the same amount of funds from the state,” he said.

Reduced state funding has caused a $6.5 million shortfall in the university’s budget, Creamer said. Kent State plans to balance its budget by cutting $5 million but expects $1.5 million of the shortfall to be made up by the university’s investment fund, Creamer said.

The budget cuts primarily came from administrative cost cuts and the academic affairs budget, Creamer said.

In other business, the trustees approved an arbitration plan between the university and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 153, which represents university maintenance and food service employees. However, AFSCME turned down the report, and negotiations with the university are on “a holding pattern,” said Ron Kirksey, executive director of university communications.

The trustees approved associate of applied science degrees in Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology and Veterinary Technology.

Also, the trustees unanimously reelected President Carol Cartwright for a 15th term. In their resolution they commended Cartwright for her years of service.

“Her clear focus on the needs of students and all those served by the Kent State University has brought about transformative change to Ohio’s second-largest public institution of higher learning,” the resolution said.

The trustees’ resolution did not include any changes in Cartwright’s salary or benefits package.

Contact on campus reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].