Tuesday, November 06, 2001

UC bumps tuition 6% over 2 quarters

More increases likely as state support wanes

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        University of Cincinnati trustees Monday raised every student's tuition 6 percent, the first mid-year increase in two decades.

        Late Monday, UC was calculating tuitions for its many undergrad and graduate colleges, but it came up with a number for most of its 17,500 in-state, full-time undergrads:

        • Increases begin in January, when winter quarter tuition rises about 3 percent, or $56, for a total of $1,997.

        • For the spring quarter, tuition rises another $58, to $2,055.

        “That sucks,” responded Candice Craig, 19, a sophomore in psychology from Madison Place.

        Her pique was typical of students interviewed, but none said the increases would affect educational plans. Grants, loans, scholarships, part-time work and family help would continue to sustain them.

        Fred Rozier, 55, of Lincoln Heights, a senior in chemistry, said he is relying on savings but if he needs more money, “I can work if I want to as an RN (registered nurse).”

        UC had no choice but to raise tuition after the state of Ohio reduced funds by $11.2 million this quarter and economists predicted a similar cut next year, President Joseph A. Steger said.

        “We've used up every reserve in the institution,” he said.

        UC took an $8 million hit earlier in the year, cut academic and administrative budgets, imposed a partial hiring freeze and raised full-time undergrad tuition and

        fees 9 percent to $1,941 for fall quarter, which began in September.

        Few students interviewed on Monday knew about the lost state money; many assumed higher tuition was for remodeled and new buildings.

        “There's always an increase at UC and nothing seems to be fixed,” complained Zoetta Bullucks, 20, a psychology junior from Forest Park.

        Six percent is about what other Ohio public colleges and universities are considering, UC board Chairman Ben Gettler said.

        Monday's decision came at a UC special trustees' meeting called to consider an administra tion recommendation for a 2 percent mid-year increase, which would have required layoffs.

        That proposal died fast.

        “Don't nickel and dime people,” Trustee Phillip Cox said.

        With more state cuts assured, further tuition raises are certain and instead of coming back repeatedly, Mr. Cox wanted one large increase. But that was amended to two quarterly increases after more debate.

        UC spokesman Greg Hand said previous midyear increases came during the 1981-1982 school year, when repeated raises lifted tuition 23.8 percent.

        He said the 6 percent raise approved Monday would produce $2.5 million by June 30. Some will be applied to current needs, some to next year's expected shortage.

        Budget cuts of all kinds will make up the rest of the $11.2 million shortfall this year and again next year if the state again reduces UC subsidies.

        But Monday's increase won't end it, Mr. Hand said. “Undoubtedly, there will be another increase in June. There hasn't been a June when we haven't raised tuition.”

        At Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, the administration dealt with slashed state funds by ordering a 5 percent cut in operating budgets.

        Its board won't move on tuition before the Nov. 27 trustees meeting, spokesman Bruce Stoecklin said.


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