YSU Trustees reduce tuition increase

The revision amounts to $2.1 million.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The handwriting's been on the wall for a few months, but the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees made it official Friday, reducing a proposed 9 percent annual tuition increase to comply with the state's 6 percent cap.
The trustees had no choice Friday but to approve the reduction in the tuition increase. The state House-Senate budget conference committee approved language earlier this week limiting state universities to a 6 percent tuition cap, and no allowances for increases for anything but tuition. State legislators had talked for months about the cap. Gov. Bob Taft must sign the budget bill by Thursday.
YSU trustees approved a 9 percent increase, effective with the fall semester, in January. The increase included a 6 percent increase for general tuition, 2 percent for technology improvements and 1 percent for financial aid.
YSU sets tuition rates as early as possible to provide students with as much advance notice as possible to help them make financial arrangements, said David C. Sweet, YSU president.
The elimination of the 3 percent increase means YSU has to make up $2.1 million.
Increased investment dividends and an increase in collecting bad debt will make up a portion of that money, Sweet said. Some academic initiatives will be postponed because of the tuition change, he said.
YSU will fund its technology improvement costs from other financial sources and will honor its financial aid commitment to students, said John Habat, YSU's vice president for administration.
Even without the 1 percent financial aid increase, YSU will continue moving toward its plan to increase financial aid for students by more than 50 percent by the year 2009, Sweet said.
Still the lowest
The 6 percent increase raises annual tuition by $449 beginning with the fall semester on Aug. 29. Full-time undergraduate Ohio residents will pay $6,333 a year.
YSU's annual tuition remains the lowest among the state's 11 largest public universities, even with the 6 percent increase, Sweet said.
Also, between scholarships and grants for students, YSU students on average pay 46 percent of the stated tuition, the best ratio in the state, Sweet said.
In his annual report Friday, Sweet said his goal is to increase YSU's student population to 14,000 by the 2008-09 school year. YSU had 13,101 students in the 2004-05 school year.
Sweet said 2,025 students received diplomas during the past school year's commencements, the most in nine years. While he is pleased by that, Sweet said it is a challenge to increase enrollment when so many students graduate.
Friday's board meeting was the first for two trustees: Dr. Diane Bitonte Miladore and Dr. Sudershan K. Garg, both of Canfield. The board also honored Larry E. Esterly, a trustee who died May 7, at the meeting.
The board on Friday officially elected Dr. Hai-Shiuh Wang of Canfield as its chairman. Wang served as vice chairman under Esterly. The chairman change was scheduled to occur before Esterly's death.

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