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YSU can’t spin the bad news



Published: Sun, February 5, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Perhaps in the rarefied air of academia a decline in enrollment isn’t worth losing sleep over. But in the real world, a loss is a loss is a loss — that cannot be ignored. It’s especially troubling when the institution in question is already having to justify its existence in the competitive arena of higher education.

The 3.8 percent drop in the number of students attending Youngstown State University this Spring semester compared with the Spring 2011 semester (13,698 vs. 14,253) gives pause. Last Fall’s numbers reflected a 4.3 percent decline from the Fall of 2010 — 14,540 vs. 15,194.

Meanwhile, Kent State University’s Trumbull campus has recorded eight straight semesters of increased enrollment. This Spring, the branch campus is boasting a 7 percent spike compared with the same time last year. The 3,255 students on campus represent the highest number on record.

Expectation

Eastern Gateway Community College, which is also operating in the Mahoning Valley, had not reported its figures last week, but there’s an expectation that the results will be encouraging for the fledging two-year institution in the Valley.

That’s why YSU’s attempt to downplay the enrollment loss is not persuasive. The facts tell the story.

Fact: Last year, after contentious contract talks and a threat of a strike by the faculty, the board of trustees approved three-year contracts with the unions that include a 2 percent wage increase in the third year. There’s a freeze in the first two years.

Fact: During the contract talks, the administration contended that YSU faced a $7 million deficit caused by the reduction in state funding and a decline in enrollment last Fall.

Fact: While the faculty, in particular, bemoaned the anemic contract, the previous three-year pact was a boondoggle for the campus community.

For the 2008-09 school year, there was a 2.8 percent increase in the base salary; a bonus, which resulted in a full professor, for example, receiving $1,800 that was added to the base salary; an increase in longevity pay of $50 for each year of service for a member of the faculty union hired before June 1, 2008. It has been calculated that the entire first-year package resulted in an 8 percent increase.

For the second and third years, faculty members received increases of 3.5 percent to their new base salaries.

The contracts for the classified employees, who also received bonuses, professional staff, police and administrators were just as lucrative.

Fact: In order to address the financial challenges confronting the university, the trustees, at the behest of the administration, raised tuition for undergraduate and graduate students for the 2011-2012 academic year.

As a result, undergraduate students who live in Ohio are paying $126 more — from $3,600 to $3,726 — per semester; for full-time students living in the 10-county region considered the Western Pennsylvania Advantage area, tuition went up $131 per semester, from $3,700 to $3,831; full-time students living in the 15-county regional service area in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia saw a $193 per-semester increase, and full-time, out-of-state students outside of that region are paying $268 more a semester.

Full-time, in-state graduate students are paying $167 more, to $4,956. Full-time, out-of-state tuition for graduate students increased $172 a semester, from $4,888 to $5,060.

Fact: Those increases came on the heels of a 3.5 percent tuition hike in the 2010-11 academic year.

YSU’s reality

Is it any wonder that enrollment is dropping? The argument is made that even with the higher tuition, YSU is still cheaper than most of the public universities and colleges in Ohio. That argument ignores the reality of Youngstown State: It’s an open admissions, urban institution that caters to a population of many first-time college goers. In addition, many must work in order to afford the ever increasing cost of higher education.

In his State of the Union speech last week, President Barack Obama echoed the sentiments of many students and parents when he said, “When kids do graduate (from high school), the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. ... It’s not enough for us to increase student aid. We just can’t keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition; we’ll run out of money.”


Comments

1AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Mr de Souza -- Your second sentence is spot on: "... In the real world, a loss is a loss is a loss -- that cannot be ignored." But would you also agree that a gain is a gain is a gain -- that cannot be ignored? If so, then encourage your editors to bring from the grave the story posted-but-buried the other day about a county election official being given a 10.1% raise -- $5.860. http://www.vindy.com/news/2012/feb/01...
Thank you in advance.

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2HonestAbe(274 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Bert will not be happy until YSU is OSUNEO. So...with Bert's logic, parents should not send their children to YSU because what...in his opinion faculty and staff are overpaid? So then it would make more sense for a hometown student to go to Kent or Akron so they can pay MORE in tuition...on top of room and board?

It's a no brainer to conclude that YSU has lost students because of Eastern Gateway. Their per credit hour charge is about 1/3 of YSU's. How is that YSU's fault?

For parents of students, and the students themselves, my feeling is this: if you're looking for bang for your educational buck in a professional career major (i.e., education, business, nursing, engineering, etc.) YSU makes financial sense. I wouldn't want my kid taking out huge amounts of student loan debt when the education received as YSU is as good, or better than other NEO public universities.

Bert, tell me what the faculty and staff at Akron and Kent make, then you might have a leg to stand on. Otherwise, your column goes right into the dog crate where it belongs.

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3RustOnMyBelt(114 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I read in this paper the lists of students on Kent State's Honor Roll who are from Youngstown as well as graduates from Kent State who reside in Youngstown. Anyone would have to say that,unless there is a major course of study offered there that is not offered at YSU, the Vindicator's own negativity hit squad with all the anti-YSU press they use for headline material has got to have some responsibility in those declining enrollment numbers as well !

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4hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

I agree with the above poster! All the Vindy has ever done is verbally degenerate YSU at every opportunity. The question in my mind, is why?

Maybe, just maybe enrollment wouldn't be suffering as badly if the "hometown paper" would actually support YSU for once. However, I suspect that will never happen, as it would seem that some of their reporters and opinion people would prefer to perpetuate controversy, and may have personal agendas.

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5borylie(790 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

You further your education and most pay out of their pocket to do so. You do this so you have a better chance to become successful. Then if you're successful you become one of those targeted because of the opportunities this country afforded you,and now you "must give back".
Now you give back in the form of taxes. Taxes on your income and if you decide to invest instead of blowing every penny you make,you pay taxes on the money you earned by saving at risk and if you die all that you studied for,all the work you did and all the financial planning you did is now taxed before you can give it to your family.
I'm starting to come around to the democrat/liberal way of thinking. Screw school,screw working and screw saving. Let the successful support me. Or the socialist/communist/union theory of let's all make the same wage,live in the same type of house,drive the same type car(compact),the same health care and don't worry about retiring and saving as the government will take care of you.

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6WhatRUAfraidOf(85 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Jessiedavid,

I work at a university and make at least $15,000 less for what I do (computer programmer) than I would in the private sector. The main reason I continue to work at the university is I don't want to have to drive to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to get a job with half-decent pay, and I don't have the option of moving due to my husband's job. There are NO jobs in my field in the private sector in Youngstown.

It is a serious misconception that all public employees make exorbitant wages.

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7essen(9 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

If the Fall 2011/2010 comparative registration went down 4.3%, and the Spring 2012/2011 comparative registration was down 3.8%, then enrollment is trending up.
Eastern Gateways' success is a good thing. But they are a two-year community college, and not comparable to YSU. Those students who want a four-year degree will most likely end up at YSU eventually.
It is disnegenous to blam the decrease in enrollment on professors whose salary was frozen for two years. Administration has to shoulder some of the blame for their failure to take the recommendations of their own experts, which created doubt in the minds of potential new students about the viability of the fall semester.

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8pgurney(281 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Well of course enrollment is down at YSU!

The FACT is that in this economy, for most young adults, the cost of going to college is simply exorbitant and out of the question.

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9borylie(790 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

TheDrone,
It appears you've already signed up. And if the government takes care of you,who owns you? Is this the life you'd like to live,just be like everyone else? No reason for you to want to better yourself? Vote democrat and someday you'll get to be like everyone else.

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10jupiter(116 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Falconeddy and jessiedavid...Get over it. Instead of worrying about what others make, invest in yourselves. Improve your own situation. The whole "public vs. private" schism isn't going to work. We are on to it and we are on to puppets like yourself who push an agenda that borders on the insane if it were not so disingenuous by now. Were you guys heavily medicated this past November?
As for Bert's obession with maligning YSU? We may just be witnessing a has-been-who-never-was self-destructing before our very eyes.
I do believe that those "oh-so-evil" faculty and staff at the University may just start to boycott Vindy advertisers.
Bert, do you realize that if you spent all the time and energy into bettering yourself that you spend attempting to vilify others you would actually be an exceptional person? Rather than the bitter and ineffectual hack you are now. I guess if I was you i would be bitter, too. No one who dreams of becoming a journalist as a kid does it and says, "I want to write for the Vindicator."
Hang it up, de Souza...Its well past the point of even being remotely comical.

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11jupiter(116 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

So...You call me names yet you haven't even met me? You accuse me of unsubstantiated behavior? All the while you...LOL...you admit to "sitting in church." Here is a hint-pray for the ability to improve your own life. You might just find that once this happens your bitterness towards others decreases.
In the meantime, though, please don't call others names. And most definitely do not accuse me of being insensitive to what this economy has done to many.
If small-minded, myopic lemmings such as yourself didn't spew rightwing rhetoric constantly we could actually improve the economy for everyone. But instead sycophants like yourself wish to parrot what the talking heads tell you to. The result? People like you get used by the right as they attempt to turn the middle class against itself. When I see what is happening in this country and hear guys like you cheerleading for more of it, it makes me believe that laws against relatives marrying may need to be enforced more!

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12walter_sobchak(1910 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

If you review the expenditure per pupil figures for the various public schools systems in Ohio, you find that a good average figure to be between $8500 and $11,000. The tuition at YSU is about $7500 per year plus books (rip-off) and fees. That is a very reasonable figure for higher education which requires professors with advanced degrees, for the most part. If the goal of YSU is to NOT be an open enrollment institution, then more students are going to be diverted to the community colleges, since not everyone has the ability to get a four-year degree. This will put more upward pressure on tuition but will make YSU a more competitive environment.

chabobba lips - very funny! [:-)

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13jupiter(116 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

^^^^Exactly^^^^, Spiderlegs....

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14jupiter(116 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Did you even stop to consider that maybe a decline in enrollment could possibly be a sign that the economy is improving? Of course not-because to guys like you the entire thought of improving oneself is alien. Instead you would rather "covet thy neighbor." (Ask about that whole bit next time you are in church.)
I am willing to bet "Jessiedavid" that your current lot in life is more the result of your own failures rather than any employee, public or private.
Let me help you: Rather than post on here and play cheerleader for the Vindy as it attempts to spew rhetoric for the right,...use that energy and go to the library. Pick out a book that interests you. Then, every day for one half-hour, go to the gym and walk on a treadmill and read. I bet that within in a month you will be down right embarrassed at some of these posts submitted by you because in all reality they are not about public employees. Rather they serve as an indictment exposing your own dissatisfaction with YOUR LIFE. Best of luck!!!

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15jupiter(116 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

"Public employee pillaging..?" PUH-LEEZ...how do you define "pillaging?" As making a liveable wage?
The whole talking point about public employees and their salaries has proven to be false. When compared to COMPARABLE POSITIONS, public employees actually make less in many cases than their private sector counterparts. Your oh-so-well-quoted "Buckeye Institute" likes to slant the numbers by using data from private sector "jobs" and then compare that against public sector "careers."
Now you dare equate the constant vilification of public employees as some sort of "moral crusade?" I do believe that you have admitted, in a public forum, to an obsession of sorts. I hope and pray that you get the necessary mental health care that one such as you obviously needs.
So, in addition to the above mentioned physical fitness regime, you also can now seek therapy for your "moral crusade." You should have plenty to occupy your time rather than playing sycophant for de Souza. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and successful reintegration into society.

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16Bman(151 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

We should not read DeSouza.

He hates the area and demeans and degrades it as much as he possibly can. The more members argue over his columns and opinion, which are generally all negative, the longer he will be employed by the Vindy.

The Vindy represents Mahoning County's past, creating divisiveness and division in every article: City v. Suburbs, student v.YSU, patients v. hospitals, people v. public officials, etc. The Youngstown Metro area is a great place to live, work, and recreate and it has its share of problems just like every other area.

DeSouza may be Mahoning County's biggest problem. No wonder the BabyBoomer generation, those members who still reside here anyway, continues to hate itself and hate the area--they've been subjected to DeSouza for thirty years. DeSouza has helped shape a generation who cannot look at the area and see a positive place. That must be why DeSouza only supports those incumbant do-nothing-political-hacks who represent his readership--they are just as useless as he is.

I cannot believe I clicked on this thread, which displays DeSouza's icon. I'm just a YSU fan and believe that having a major state university in the middle of downtown is a good thing and should be defended; even if the professors are in a union.

Open admissions? DeSouza attempted another denigration to convey that YSU will "accept anybody." And that YSU may do. But is that a bad thing DeSouza? If YSU didn't have open admissions, this hack would write a separate column condemning a lack of opportunity at YSU to an inner city population YSU is supposed to serve! Again, another attempt at making YSU look inferior, at which DeSouza failed. Personally, I am proud that YSU serves locals with open admissions. Granted, because it is a major university, most unprepared students fail out early, but at least they recieved a chance at a better life, thanks to YSU.

Never again will I read this hack's writing.

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17grand4dad(196 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

Very well said Bman. I couldn't agree with you more. I am sick and tired of reading Mr. DeSouza's bullc**p. It's the same thing over and over again. Vindy, I really wish you would try promoting the good things of this valley instead of constantly trying to tear them down.

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18Bman(151 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

If DeSouza truly wanted to accomplish anything this election season (which he probably does not), an editorial needs to be written regarding why some elected officials may be chosing to utilize the services of Rubenstein and Associates?

Rather than tearing down the future of the Mahoning Valley, YSU, and its employees, inquire why candidates for Commissioner and Prosecutor may be using a professional political consultant who contributed to bringing shame and disrepute onto the Valley during the Marc Dann scandal in Columbus.

This consultant is a link to our not-so-nice past, and I don't want to see him resurrected by CURRENT OFFICE HOLDERS. The Vindy should shed light on these folks and declare that their time has past and the future is bright (without them!).

".... Leo Jennings III of Poland, Dann’s communications director, and Edgar C. Simpson of The Plains, Ohio, his chief of policy and administration, were charged today in Franklin County Municipal Court by the Ohio Ethics Commission and the Franklin County prosecutor’s office.

Jennings, 54, and Simpson, 46, are to plead guilty to the charges when they appear in front of Judge William Politt at 10 a.m. Thursday, said Paul Nick, the ethics commission’s chief investigative attorney, who signed the complaints..." from...

http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/mar/02...

Why doesn't the Vindy write about something worthy of denigration and leave YSU alone?

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19Ypublius(21 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

lolol I had to see if this was even true about Jennings working for Rubenstein!

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/leo-jenni...
It was as simple as "Google" and "linked in"Good for Jennings, at least he has a job and is not in the 8% of Americans who are unemploed.

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20Bman(151 comments)posted 2 years, 7 months ago

O it's true.

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