The Cleveland Stater is published online and in print by students enrolled in the School of Communication at Cleveland State University.
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ON THE FRONT PAGE
Board expected to raise tuition
BY EMILY OUZTS
Editor's Note: This story is about a pending decision and was published on July 23, one day before the official vote to freeze tuition this fall took place.
CSU officials will decide tomorrow whether to raise tuition this fall, this spring, or in both semesters.
The decision comes after Ohio legislature melted a statewide tuition freeze in its latest budget, giving public universities permission to raise tuition rates by 3.5 percent each coming year.
CSU will raise undergraduate, graduate, and law school tuition by that amount sometime in the next year. The board of trustees must approve the increase, which was first proposed by the university’s Financial Affairs, Audit and Facilities Committee at a July 17 meeting.
Jack Boyle, vice president for business affairs and finance, recommended the board approve a tuition hike for both fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters, warning it would be the only way CSU could offset the $170 million cut in higher education funding leveled by the state.
The state mandates that the 3.5 percent increase can only be applied to the full academic year. If CSU waited until spring to raise tuition, it could only do so by 1.7 percent.
According to Boyle, that’s not enough to build the financial padding necessary to withstand the “extremely tight” budget restrictions facing CSU over the next three years, including a drop in federal stimulus dollars that could reduce university funding by almost 25 percent by 2012.
“There’s just no long-term solution for this,” Boyle said.
The tuition increase could also safeguard against what CSU President Ronald Berkman called a “very dramatic cut” to the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) program, which provides financial aid for disadvantaged college students in Ohio.
The program will lose more than half of its funding in the next year, affecting up to 1,200 CSU students low-income families, or nearly 10 percent of the university’s total student body. Half of the revenue garnered from higher tuition rates in both semesters next year would go toward increased financial aid, Boyle said, which would help cover the loss of OCOG funding.
“There’s just too many students that will be touched by this if we don’t do anything,” Mike Droney, vice president for administration, told the committee as he recommended to raise tuition as soon as possible.
After the meeting, Berkman echoed Droney’s sentiment, saying that the university had to do what it could to help students at risk of OCOG cuts.
If the board approves a fall increase, CSU undergraduate tuition would rise by $276 for the 2010-2011 year. The figure drops to $138 if the board decides to wait until spring.
After first announcing that they would not do so this year, Kent State University and Youngstown State University have decided to raise tuition this fall. Ohio State University will keep tuition frozen for in-state undergraduate students.
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