By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University students will pay $130 more per semester this fall after university trustees approved a 3.5-percent tuition increase.
President Cynthia E. Anderson said at a meeting Wednesday that these are difficult times for higher education in the state as the university, which used to receive about 75 percent of its funding from the state, has watched that decrease to about 20 percent.
“We didn’t want to raise tuition, and neither did any other university in Ohio,” she said.
Every comprehensive public university in the state though, “had to and did raise their tuition,” Anderson said.
The increase means full-time Ohio students will pay $3,856 per semester beginning this fall.
Even with the increase, YSU still has the lowest tuition of the state’s 11 public, comprehensive universities, university officials said.
The state average is $9,932 in tuition annually.
The board also approved a $156.3 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2013, a 1.5 percent reduction from the FY 2012 spending plan.
Trustee Harry Meshel cast the only dissenting vote.
“I’m uncomfortable with increasing tuition at the same time we’re voting for an increase in salaries,” he said.
The board also approved a three-year contract with the union representing university police officers, which calls for no pay raise the first year, a 2 percent the second year and an increase of either 2 percent or the same percentage as the faculty union, whichever is greater, in the final year.
Atty. Leonard D. Schiavone, trustee, cast the only vote against the contract. He declined to comment about his reasons.
Meshel said the university has made cuts and that he recognizes the significant reductions from the state, but he said he doesn’t agree with the timing of a tuition increase when students are facing increasing debt loads because of student loans and increasing employee wages.
Besides the tuition increase, several student fees also will increase.
The fee for a student parking permit fee will increase from $100 to $120 per semester.
An all-student transportation fee, which had been previously proposed, has been deferred. Only students who park on campus pay for a parking permit while all students would have paid the transportation fee.