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Published: Tuesday, 4/2/2002

UT trustees confront 3.7% tuition boost

BY RYAN E. SMITH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The University of Toledo will raise annual tuition and fees by 3.7 percent beginning this summer if a recommendation is approved by the board of trustees tomorrow during a special meeting.

The proposal would increase the university's instructional fee by $94 a semester and boost the cost for in-state undergraduate summer students from $2,365 a semester to $2,459.

Annual tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students would be $5,291, up from $5,103.

“It's clearly a product of the fiscal environment we find ourselves in,” said William Decatur, vice president for finance and administration.

State funding for higher education was reduced by 6 percent in the fall, and UT officials plan to reallocate $1.8 million next fiscal year to meet high-priority needs, such as strengthening certain academic programs, Mr. Decatur said.

If approved, the tuition and fee increase would generate about $4.2 million next year.

Given the need to maintain a solid financial platform for the university, James Tuschman, board chairman, said he would support the proposed increase and maybe more.

By hiking tuition in the summer, the university leaves open the possibility of raising tuition again for the fall by up to 9.9 percent under a deal struck between state universities and Gov. Bob Taft in February.

“Since I do not see the [state's financial] situation getting any better, I believe that there's a high probability we would have to seriously look at tuition increases again coming up for the next academic period,” Mr. Tuschman said. “I fear that they would have to be a significant number as well.”

Several of Ohio's public universities have approved midyear tuition hikes. In February, Bowling Green State University approved increasing tuition and fees by 7 percent this summer. The annual cost of attending BGSU will rise from $5,764 to $6,136.

Mr. Tuschman said it is important that UT not lose ground in its resources - and therefore pricing - relative to other schools.

In the fall, UT ranked sixth among the 13 state universities in tuition and fees. Mr. Decatur said he thinks it is unlikely UT's position will change this year.

The bigger question, he continued, is, “Are all Ohio public universities pricing students out?”

“This question of affordability is a challenge for all Ohio's public universities and a direct result of the lack of state support for higher education,” he said.

Becky Mocniak, student government vice president, said students need to face the fact that tuition is going up as long as state support remains down. “I think basically what it comes down to is the university really needs to find funding so they don't need to cut services,” she said.



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