Saturday, March 02, 2002

Trustees approve Ohio State University tuition increase

By Carrie Spencer
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — Ohio State University trustees unanimously approved a two-tier tuition increase Friday that is $726 less for new students than what the university proposed a month ago.

        But officials outlined a plan for adding that $726 by stretching it out over the next few years.

        The state's largest public university will raise tuition 19 percent for new in-state students and 9 percent for returning students, starting in the summer. For the first-year students, the increase is $903, to $5,691 a year. Current in-state students will pay $5,217, up $429.

        “My parents are upset — my sister's an incoming freshman next year,” junior Chris Appleton said. “She's pretty set on coming.”

        Like many in the electrical engineering program, Mr. Appleton, 21, probably will need a fifth year to graduate. If the university sticks to its plan of 9 percent tuition increases for the next few years, he will pay $5,686 that year, while Ms. Appleton's sophomore tuition would be $6,203.

        Ohio State announced Feb. 1 that it was considering a 34 percent increase for new students, to $6,417. In response, lawmakers threatened to reinstate a cap on tuition increases for public universities.

        The Legislature had eliminated the cap last year after refusing to increase the higher education budget.

        On Tuesday, the state's 13 public universities and Gov. Bob Taft agreed that state schools would keep increases less than 10 percent for returning students.

        Ohio State President William Kirwan said the university plans to keep increasing tuition by 9 percent for the next two to three years for current students. The two-tier structure with higher increases for new students will continue until tuition hits that $6,417 goal.

        Students will see benefits in smaller classes, more research opportunities and newly recruited professors, Mr. Kirwan said.

        “What we expect to see happen is Ohio State to continue to march up in the rankings” of national educational institutions, he added.

        The state's other 12 public universities have not yet set fall tuition. Ohio University officials have announced a plan to increase tuition 15 percent for freshmen, to about $6,300, and 9 percent for returning students, to about $5,990.

        While Ohio State's tuition increases will raise $29 million in 2002, the university still will have a $6 million deficit, officials said. The university plans to trim that to $2.4 million, partly with fees generated from a larger winter enrollment and an increase in nonresident tuition.

        The university wants to cover a $20 million decrease in state funding and pay for $47 million to $55 million in improvements, including faculty raises, recruiting and financial aid.


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