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Tuition increase forecast for YSU



Published: Thu, July 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Nine of Ohio's 13 public universities raised tuition by more than 7 percent.

STAFF/WIRE REPORT

Youngstown State University's tuition increase ranks next to the lowest in the state, but stagnant state funding may force the university to raise student costs even more in 2002.

"Something has to give, and my guess is [tuition] is likely to be it," said Dr. G.L. Mears, YSU executive vice president.

"I don't see how we're going to be able to hold it down the way we did this year."

YSU trustees agreed last month to boost tuition 5.1 percent for the 2001-02 academic year. Only Central State University will have a lower increase, at 3 percent.

Nine of the state's 13 four-year public universities have raised tuition by more than 7 percent now that lawmakers lifted a 6 percent cap on the increases.

"Our intent is to hold down tuition, make this place affordable and at the same time maintain a high-quality education for the students who attend here," Mears said.

"We don't have some of the frills that you'll find on some other campuses, but we think the trade-off is worth it."

Cost: YSU freshmen and sophomores will pay $4,204 in the 2001-02 academic year, while juniors and seniors will pay $4,348.

It will be very difficult, however, to keep the increases down in 2002-03, Mears said. YSU is expecting no increase in state funding, and Mears said that likely will mean even higher tuition rates.

Ohio State University's 9.3 percent tuition increase is the highest in the state.

"I think it's terrible. I don't really see how raising it that much is going to benefit the students," said Geoff Stoffel, 22, a fifth-year mathematics major at OSU.

The Legislature imposed tuition caps in 1990 as a way to control increasing college costs. Higher education officials said they needed to increase tuition beyond 6 percent because the state's two-year budget had little additional money for public colleges and universities.

Budget pressures: Rising Medicaid costs, a slowing economy and a Supreme Court order to fix the school-funding system put pressure on the budget, which went into effect Sunday.

Gov. Bob Taft opposed removing the caps except for Ohio State, which he said successfully argued it needed to raise tuition to be in line with comparable universities.

Ohio State's tuition increases by $405 to $4,761 in the fall -- its largest increase since 10.9 percent in the 1987-1988 academic year. Its tuition ranks seventh out of the 13 public universities.

Ohio State student Rayna Rosenberry, 21, of St. Clairsville, said tuition has become too high for the average student and that students aren't getting anything out of the increases.

"My classes aren't getting any more high-tech," the consumer affairs major said. "I don't think it's benefiting the students as much as it should."

Ohio State spokeswoman Elizabeth Conlisk said the increase will be used to hire more academic advisers, fund technological improvements in classrooms, increase financial aid and add sections of popular courses.

"We felt we needed to have the additional resources to improve the educational opportunities for our students," she said.

Ohio's ranking: Michael M. Brown, spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents, defended tuition increases, saying that Ohio ranks 41st in funding for higher education.

He said the state is 11th nationally in the cost of higher education at public universities, adding that the recent tuition increases will put Ohio in the top 10.

"That's not a top 10 we want to be in," he said.




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