Friday, February 01, 2002

Universities warned to hold tuition

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Ohio's 13 public universities face the possibility of another tuition cap after some schools raised fees in response to multimillion-dollar cuts in state subsidies.

        Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday warned the four-year schools that he would consider asking the legislature to reinstate a cap if tuitions are increased unreasonably.

        And a state senator said Thursday that he would introduce legislation next week that would permanently limit annual increases to 6 percent.

        “That would simply perpetuate a problem that caps have created — unequal funding among the universities,” said Luis Proenza, the University of Akron's president.

        Mr. Taft held a conference call Wednesday with top university officials in which he explained his concerns about midyear tuition increases at several schools, including the University of Cincinnati, and proposals at some to charge first-year students more than others in the fall.

        Ohio University announced this week that it was considering charging first-year students more than upperclass students. Tuition for freshmen would be increased 19.5 percent as part of a three-year plan to improve undergraduate education.

        Ohio State University plans to present a similar proposal today for a two-tiered tuition system.

        For a decade, Ohio limited tuition increases, with the most recent cap set at 6 percent. Lawmakers last year eliminated a cap and did not increase higher education funding in the two-year budget that Mr. Taft signed into law. Mr. Taft had proposed keeping the cap.

        He asked this week that schools keep increases under 10 percent for any class of students and avoid multiple single-digit hikes during the academic year totaling 10 percent.


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