Saturday, June 16, 2001

Taft: Keep tuition hike low

UC may rethink its 10.1% plan

By Ben L. Kaufman and Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hours after the University of Cincinnati proposed a 10.1 percent increase in tuition and fees, Gov. Bob Taft urged Ohio colleges to avoid sharp raises as a way of compensating for reduced state support.

        “We need more Ohio residents to go to college,” he said Thursday after a talk to the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. “I hope not to see double-digit increases.”

        Mr. Taft was concerned that Ohio families cannot afford large tuition increases and he wrote to trustees “urging administrators to use great restraint.”

        His message reached UC, where spokeswoman Chris Curran said trustees would consider the admonition before they vote on tuition June 20.

        “We're getting less money from the state,” she said. “We have to make it up some way.”

Tight squeeze
        James D. Plummer, UC associate vice president for finance, explained that at best, UC will receive $1.8 million less from the state for the coming academic year.

        That and inflation do “push us into double digits,” Ms. Curran said.

        Twenty years ago, Ohio provided 40 percent of UC's support and students paid 20 percent. In the coming academic year, they each will pay 27 percent if the proposed tuition/fee increase goes through.

        UC's 10.1 percent increase affects students pursuing bachelor's degrees. Students working on other degrees will face different — some higher, some lower — increases.

        UC's faculty union attacked the 10 percent tuition increase, saying it does not serve students or the Cincinnati community well.

        The American Association of University Professors has a longstanding policy that “financial costs should not be a deterrent to anyone seeking a university degree,” and UC's decision to shift costs to the students is a bad idea.

        AAUP president Joe Fisher said, “If there is pain to be split, why not attempt to find ways of minimizing that pain for the students?”

        State support could shrink again if the Ohio Supreme Court forces the General Assembly to reconvene and find more money for K-12 education, Dale L. McGirr, vice president for finance, warned in the interim budget going before trustees next week.

        Mr. Taft said his budget called for maintaining tuition caps but that was eliminated by the legislature.


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