Sunday, July 13, 2003

OSU trustees pass second tuition increase in 3 months

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Ohio State University trustees have approved a tuition increase for the second time in three months.

Returning students will pay 15.4 percent more than they did last fall despite a new state cap designed to limit annual tuition increases at the university to 12.9 percent.

The university is following state rules on calculating tuition, and part of its increase was approved before the tuition cap took effect July 1.

A 9 percent increase voted by trustees in May, combined with the second increase of 3.9 percent approved on Friday, will bring the total increase to 12.9 percent when compared with the 2002-03 school year.

However, most students on a traditional fall-through-spring schedule will see a bigger increase because they never saw the effect of the earlier one. The summer quarter is considered to be part of the 2002-03 school year.

For the 2003-04 school year, sophomores will pay $6,540 in tuition and juniors and seniors will pay $5,991. The respective figures for those groups for 2002-03 were $5,664 and $5,190. Entering freshmen will pay $6,624.

Annual tuition at regional campuses will go up 9.9 percent - about $456.

"OSU is still a bargain compared to other schools across the country," said Zuheir Sofia, chairman of the university board of trustees.

But senior Kasey Kraft of suburban Pickerington said the increase would mean she will have to look for a second job and take out more loans.

"How high is it going to go?" she asked. "It's going to turn people away from this university."

OSU officials said the second increase was necessary because of lower-than-expected state funding.

Ohio State's tuition is the seventh-highest of the 13 public universities in Ohio. The university has 44,000 students.

Miami University, the most expensive public university in the state, and the University of Cincinnati recently raised their tuitions by 9.9 percent.

Miami students will pay an in-state tuition of $8,353, compared to $7,600 a year ago. University of Cincinnati students will pay an in-state tuition of $7,623, compared to $6,936 from last year.

OSU's provost, Edward Ray, acknowledged the tuition increases might discourage students from attending. But he noted that the last 3.9 percent will be spent on scholarships and technology, as required by state law.

"We're not simply increasing tuition without support for financial aid," Ray said.

"We're in a rough spot. We're trying to stay on course, but one of our partners (the state) is not."

The state's portion of the university's funding has declined from about 65 percent in 1980 to slightly more than 40 percent this year with the state providing $311 million.

Trustees also voted Friday to revise the student conduct code by including a provision requiring students to disperse from a riotous crowd when requested to do so by university or law enforcement officials.

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