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Another academic year at YSU will bring another tuition hike

Published: Tue, June 11, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

In the midst of the national debate over the value of higher education — this page has featured both sides of the argument dealing with the return on tuition investment — Youngstown State University plans to raise the cost of attending, for the fifth year in a row.

Universities and colleges have been steadily charging more, prompting discussions in Congress about long-term student debt. And while top-tier institutions make the argument that their graduates are able to secure high-paying jobs, the tuition-hike pinch is felt more acutely at places like Youngstown State.

The open-admission, urban university has been confronting the twin challenges of a cut in state funding and a decrease in enrollment. Those add up to a decline in revenue, thus prompting members of the board of trustees to increase tuition. A vote is set for Wednesday.

This fall, undergraduate students at Youngstown State who are residents of Ohio will pay 2.43 percent more in tuition, compared with last fall, and will also pay a $115-per-semester transportation fee. As a result of the increase, the per semester charge will go from $3,856 to $3,959.

Nonresident undergraduates who live in the region will pay 2.74 percent more, while non regional undergrads will pay 1.69 percent more.

Resident graduate students will pay a 3 percent increase, while nonresidents who live in the region will have to shell out 3.23 percent more. Nonresident graduate students from outside the region will face a steep increase.

All this prompts a question for the trustees and the administration: Given the continuing decline in enrollment — 15,194 in the fall of 2010 to 14,541 in 2011 to 13,813 in the fall 2012 semester to 12,966 this past Spring semester — won’t the increased cost of attending YSU further exacerbate the problem?

While it is true that YSU, like other public universities and colleges in Ohio, has had to face the reality of major cuts in state funding for higher education, the issue of a reduction in spending versus an increase in tuition remains a point of contention.

Trustee Harry Meshel, a long-time area politician who once served as the Democratic president of the Ohio Senate, has consistently opposed trying to balance the books on the backs of the students.

Meshel has correctly argued that YSU is the first chance many residents of the Mahoning Valley have to attend college and perhaps earn a degree, which necessitates keeping tuition affordable.

But the administration has countered that not bolstering revenue in the face of state funding cuts would affect the academic quality and student services.

Against that backdrop, will the current labor negotiations with the faculty unions and others be about concessions and givebacks, instead of salary increases and other sweeteners?

We would hope so.

In commenting on the appointment of Dr. Randy Dunn, former president of Murray State University in Kentucky, to replace President Cynthia Anderson, who is retiring July 1, we said the new leader will be put to the test quickly because of the contract talks.


We noted that Anderson, who has spent four decades at YSU, was able to win concessions in the last three-year contract, but now there are rumblings that the faculty is looking for a pay boost.

The administration and trustees cannot give in to such a demand. The stakeholders of the university — the ones who are paying the freight — will not sit idly by if the tuition increase is used to fatten the wallets of the faculty, staff and administrators.

It should be clear to everyone that Youngstown State’s future is uncertain at best, which is why a firm stand on contract talks is demanded.


1Penguinz(18 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

While faculty salaries are always referenced in articles alongside tuition hikes, has any consideration been given to articles or investigative journalism on 15-30% raises in salary by administrators (dean's, directors, vp's etc.) Not every professor is paid the same, either. There are major gaps between professor salaries especially with young faculty. And what about a ballooning athletic dept. budget allocation? Not all donor dollars pay for the luxurious physical plant of YSU athletic teams. Could a bigger picture be painted in these articles to better inform the public as to where money is spent at YSU? It might be helpful for readers and writers of your paper alike!

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2jupiter(116 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Once again the Vindy gets it...wrong. How about placing blame where it belongs in these oh-so-misleading-editorials? The Kasich administration's cuts to local entities, including to local governments and education, is precisely the reason for such tuition increases. Similarly, how many local governments have needed to place levies for essential services before voters, all because of this administration's cuts in the local government funding?
Rather than point out Ohio's biggest silent problem (The Koch Brother controlled Kasich regime), the Vindy would attempt to label a symptom as a cause in and of itself.
As one who "pays the freight" at the University, I understandd that such increases are necessitated by the current repressive political climate. Rather than face reality and lay blame where it belongs, once again the Vindy wishes to push a political agenda cloaked as relevant commentary.
Quite frankly, I want my instructors and University staff paid better than the denizens roaming the halls of Vindicator Square, laboring incessantly to carry the radical Right's water.
Its amazing how the Vindy attempts to cast the future of many organizations and entities as being "uncertain." Haven't we heard for years of the impending extinction of YSU, the Covelli Center, and of Youngstown itself-all within this space? While I lack such predictive ability myself, I will offer this one forecast: all these institutions will long outlive the relevancy of the Vindy. Perhaps this bitterness about its own impeding extinction helps explain the unbridled jealousy spewed forth in these columns by low paid and ineffectual Vindy staffers?
The Vindy does serve one redeeming purpose in our Valley, however. Whatever the price of higher education, it becomes worthwhile if it allows one to escape wasting one's professional life in servitude to such a miserable and deceptive employer as the Vindy has shown itself to be in recent years.

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3NoBS(2824 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

EVERY YEAR, the state supports its state-funded universities less and less. EVERY YEAR, the money has to come from somewhere, because costs don't dry up just because income does. And EVERY YEAR, the Vindy regurgitates anti-public employee editorials that leave out the inconvenient parts such as the state's diminishing funding of state universities, but that overemphasize the wages earned, as if that were the only expenditure YSU has incurred.

Perhaps if they don't have the money to pay their employees, they shouldn't be buying properties, completely renovating structures they allowed to molder for more than a decade, and other wastes.

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4redeye1(5662 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

I have a question to all posters Where does it say anywhere in the state constitution that the state has to pay for students to get an education?

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5peggygurney(408 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

They said that the decrease in state funding PLUS the decrease in student enrollment is prompting the tuition increase.

ummmm hello? Perhaps the decrease in enrollment is BECAUSE OF the tuition increase?

"And while top-tier institutions make the argument that their graduates are able to secure high-paying jobs..."

Some of the graduates that I know have had to take much lower-paying jobs not even related to their degrees, because of a lack of jobs in the area.

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6handymandave(578 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

With the unavailability of Jobs even with a degree from this university, why the increases in tuition?
The president of the university is getting a nice wage of over 300,000 per year which is a great salary considering the low cost of living in our area. We are going to price potential students right out of the market of going to our university because of this continuing greed. YSU's greatest asset used to be its low cost tuition as compared to other universities but not any more. Come on YSU you're a university in a poor former steel town. It's not like you're UCLA although the letters could stand for the University On The Corner Of Lincoln Avenue.

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