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YSU risks student backlash if tuition is raised — again

Published: Sun, June 10, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Before Youngstown State Univer- sity trustees impose a 3.5 percent increase in tuition for the fall semester, we would hope that someone has the good sense to ask this question: Are we reaching the point where we’re pricing ourselves out of our market.

It is not an idle inquiry, given that while tuition increased over the last two academic years, student enrollment decreased for the fall 2011 semester by 4 percent from the fall of 2010. Indeed, there are 415 fewer students attending YSU this summer compared with a year ago. That translates into a loss of revenue.

And it isn’t only tuition that has been on the rise. Various fees are being increased, and it could be more expensive for students to park on campus if trustees approve a $20 hike proposed by the administration.

The situation at YSU stands in sharp contrast to what is taking place at the Eastern Gateway Community College.

“We’ve been doubling our enrollment every semester,” said Dr. Laura Meeks, president of the two-year institution, as she announced that the Plaza Place building on the east end of downtown Youngstown will be the institution’s permanent location in the Mahoning Valley.

Between 2010 and 2011, EGCC realized an 11 percent increase, the largest of Ohio’s community colleges.

EGCC’s first Valley Center opened in 2009 in the former Northside Medical Center on Gypsy Lane. As more students enrolled, additional classes were offered at the Jewish Community Center, but it ran out of space there, too.

This year, the college opened on the fourth floor of Choffin Career and Technical Center.

EGCC will continue to offer classes at Choffin, the career and technical centers in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties and its Warren facility.

At YSU, as trustees this week consider the 3.5 percent tuition increase recommended by the finance and facilities committee, we would hope the discussion touches on whether Youngstown State’s enrollment loss is Eastern Gateway’s gain.

Police contract

Trustees will also be presented with the proposed three-year contract with the police union that calls for a pay raise of 2 percent in the second year and at least 2 percent in the final year.

In the midst of being forced to deal with a $1.1 million reduction in state funding — on top of the $7 million cut last year — should pay raises even be on the table?

We are well aware that the contracts entered into last year with the faculty and classified employees unions, which had raises and other sweeteners, set the stage for this year’s talks with the police and the professional staff.

But rather than boosting salaries, we believe that under the current economic circumstances it would make more sense to have a one-year pact with no raises. Also, the university should seek a reopening of the contracts with the faculty and classified employees to eliminate the pay raises that take effect in the third year.

The tuition increases in 2010 and 2011 and the possible increase this fall make it clear that YSU is rolling the dice — with its student population. Caution is advised.


1Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

The Vindy's editorials and opinions might matter if they actually provided more information and facts to their readers. Instead, they offer suggestions based on their political agenda. Ask the faculty and staff to go back into negotiations, after they've given up hundreds of thousands of dollars in concessions already? Saying that there were sweeteners in the faculty negotiations is an outright absurd joke for anyone who knows anything about what happened last year.

Here is a much better editorial on the subject, written by YSU students themselves, the people that the Vindy attempt to speak for here. Maybe listen to those students instead of trying to predict their actions and feelings based on a few editors at the Vindy's political agenda:

"But administrators and the board of trustees should at least acknowledge their role in the university’s distressed financial situation. Instead, they blame OBOR and the state’s continued reductions in appropriations.

State funds comprised 50 percent of YSU’s general fund in 2001. Twelve years and two wars later, YSU students’ tuition dollars make up three-quarters of the whole.

Economies expand and contract. After every few good years are a few bad ones lurking around the corner. YSU shouldn’t have gambled lofty goals for expansion on state funding."


The editors of the Jambar show up the Vindy's sad sacks of editors once again. Instead of blaming employees, you should be excoriating the people TRULY living high on the hog, and those people are not teachers or administrative assistants. Those people are administrators who continue to give themselves raises and who continue to hire more and more people in administration to do work they don't really want to do.

Vindy, people see what you're about. Don't make the mistake of thinking otherwise.

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2NoBS(2699 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Is YSU pricing itself out of the market? No. It's still one of the best deals to be had from a State University in Ohio.

Why did the university's board of trustees feel they had to, at this fiscally strained time, remodel and refurbish the termite-infested structure the university had allowed to sit not only uninhabited, but ignored, for a decade or more? Wouldn't those millions of dollars have been better spent meeting the financial shortfalls they had to know were coming? When the employees see such unnecessary spending, how can they be expected to even seriously consider taking further cuts? No normal person would.

The bills haven't decreased, but the income has. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that with no other sources of funds, tuitions are going up, fees are going up, and any other potential source of income is being given serious consideration.

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3Photoman(1237 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Never have I heard that common sense exists anywhere in the university setting---only grandiose plans and dreams of wonderful futures for all. Suck it up you paying parents and students and pay more as YSU needs more property (like everything between Fifth and Elm all the way out to Gypsy) to fulfill these grandiose objectives. After all, don't we want to become a pseudo ivy league institution?

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4Spiderlegs(160 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

If you think you are getting the same education at Eastern Gateway that you are receiving at YSU, then you belong at Eastern Gateway.

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5Boardman120(82 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Too bad there isn't a law limiting unneeded raises and benefits for YSU personnel that causes them to raise tuition every year!

Oh, wait...

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6northsideperson(366 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Wick Pollack is capital improvements, a different budget than operating expenses. The vast majority of employees (below director level) took no raises and because of increased health care lost money.

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7HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

The great thing about higher education is that is usually pays off once you get the degree. However, that's not as guaranteed any more.

The lucky thing for YSU and many other public colleges is they are run like public troughs, for the benefit of the employees mainly, with the secondary benefit of educating the next generation of high school grads. (notice I said high school) Schools like YSU are remedial universities who provide the final few years of what kids should be learning in high school. The employees of universities are in the catbirds seat. All the competition (other universities) are raising tuition every year to pay for the ridiculous raises and benefits they pass out like candy. There is no oversight and no incentive to reign in costs. Giving bonuses to university employees based on enrollment is a prime example of the stupidity involved when contracts are negotiated.

The end result will be just like health care. Costs through the roof and fewer and fewer people with the ability to afford them.

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8Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I see the Kill the teacher /SB5 gang is out strong today . GO GET-EM ROY

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