A plan by the presidents of Ohio's public universities could ease YSU's budget problems.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University President David Sweet says he does not plan to recommend a midyear tuition increase, but he could reconsider if the university's fiscal woes worsen.
Sweet and YSU trustees met Thursday to review budget forecasts and options on how to fill a projected $1.9 million shortfall this fiscal year.
Among the options could be a tuition increase in the spring semester, which begins in January. A 5-percent increase would generate $1.3 million this year, say projections reviewed by trustees.
Universities usually raise tuition in the fall. Last year, however, YSU and most other public universities in Ohio also increased tuition in the spring to make up for unexpected cuts in state funding.
Trustees said they want Sweet to consider other options.
"We need to look at making some cuts and not only depend upon increasing tuition," Trustee Chander Kohli said.
YSU tuition went up 8.9 percent this fall, the biggest one-time increase in at least a decade. Tuition also jumped 5.1 percent last fall semester and 5.5 percent last spring.
Annual tuition at YSU is $4,996, the lowest among Ohio's 11 largest, four-year, public universities.
Trustees reviewed a preliminary list of other budget moves to make up the deficit, including use of reserves, not filling vacant positions, and cutting into money set aside for Sweet's strategic planning initiatives.
"These are just ideas," said Terry Ondreyka, YSU vice president for financial affairs. "Some of them we like; some of them we don't."
The university already has imposed a "selective hiring freeze," said Hugh Chatman, YSU executive director of human resources.
YSU's budget difficulties worsened in July when the state determined that the university would get $2.7 million less in state funding than projected.
Under the funding formula, seven other state universities also lost millions of dollars.
Sweet said the presidents of all 13 of the state's public universities met Tuesday and agreed to a plan that could cut YSU's loss in half, to about $1.35 million.
But he also noted that the plan must first win the approval of the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents and the State Controlling Board. "That will play out over the next several weeks," Sweet said.
Sweet and Ondreyka also said there is the possibility of an additional cut in state funds some time after the November general election.
If that happens, and if the plan developed by the university presidents isn't approved, Sweet told trustees he may have to consider a midyear tuition increase.