Trustees adopt several changes

Ryan Loew

Increases in room and board, parking costs to take effect in Fall 2005

COLUMBUS — Kent State’s Board of Trustees approved a room and board price hike yesterday, citing the need to keep pace with changing student needs and complete its plans to improve residence halls.

The board agreed that a 3.6 percent increase in the standard room and board rate was needed to build, renovate and update residence halls.

Under the approved increase, a standard double-occupancy room and full meal plan will cost $3,320 a semester, an increase of $115 from the current $3,205 rate.

The increases will take effect in Fall 2005.

“I think students understand the cost of offering programs is going up,” President Carol Cartwright said. “Students have a general expectation that the cost of attendance is going to rise. While we raised prices on room and board, there’s still some affordable options available.”

The board also voted to increase parking rates for students and fines for parking violations.

Funded entirely by rates and fines, Parking Services was in need of additional money for repairs and higher costs of materials and services, said Vice President of Administration David Creamer.

“We tried to limit the increases because we realize it has a financial impact,” Creamer said.

Effective July 1, 2005 and continuing through 2007, parking rate increases will vary by type of permit. According to information released by University Spokesman Scott Rainone, students who currently pay $65 per semester to park close to academic buildings will pay $75 next year. In 2006, that rate will increase to $80 per semester.

Parking fines will increase from $10 to $15 per ticket for up to five parking violations. Other fines for violations such as unauthorized parking in a handicap spot will increase as well.

In order to assist in covering the gap between increasing student fees and less state support, the board also approved the creation of a university-operated Kent Opportunity Loan.

The loan, which will be offered to about 2,000 students starting in Fall 2005, will assist students “who have exhausted all other options,” Creamer said.

“We’re trying to provide that stop-gap loan program that’s not being offered anywhere else,” he said. “Our hope is that this helps students to graduate and helps some students to stay in school.”

The new loan will provide 18.8 percent of tuition to students who have been denied other forms of financial aid, such as Perkins Loans and Pell Grants.

“We’ve found there’s kids who are academically successful but are dropping out because they don’t have the money,” said Matthew Fajack, executive director of Financial Affairs.

Fajack said the loan, which is based more on academic performance rather than credit, is a “pretty safe, good credit risk.”

Statistics show that students who have finished a year of college and have a 2.5 GPA or above will likely graduate and repay loans, he said.

“This is really groundbreaking,” said Douglas Cowan, chairman of the board. “This is the kind of thing the legislation really wants universities (to do).”

The board, which holds a meeting in Columbus every other year, met with legislators such as Lt. Governor Bruce Johnson Tuesday night, said Pat Myers, director of Government Relations for the university. Trustees also held conferences with lawmakers yesterday afternoon, “just as an opportunity for the trustees to talk directly to members of the legislation about higher education,” she said.

Contact administration reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].