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Published: Saturday, 5/8/2004

Trustees approve 9% tuition hike at BG

BY RYAN E. SMITH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - For college students like Mike Peters, large tuition increases year after year have become a frustrating fact of life.

Nothing changed for him yesterday when the Bowling Green State University board of trustees approved a 9 percent tuition and fees increase, and Ohio State University approved a 12.9 percent tuition and fees increase.

State legislators capped such increases at 9.9 percent this year, but granted Ohio State an exemption.

The decisions in Bowling Green and Columbus came soon after the University of Toledo raised its tuition and fees by 9.9 percent. Other schools making similar increases include the University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, and Cleveland State University.

"I think it's horrible," said Mr. Peters, a BGSU sophomore from South Toledo. "Tuition just seems to keep rising every year. I know a lot of people who can't even afford to go to college, it's getting so expensive."

The BGSU board's action will boost the cost of Ohio undergraduates attending the main campus by more than $600 a year. For those who enrolled prior to the summer of 2002, the price will go from $7,144 to $7,784. Students who enrolled during or after the summer of 2002 will be charged $8,072, up from $7,408.

At the Firelands campus in Huron, Ohio, tuition and fees

will go up less - about 4.5 percent, from $3,806 to $3,976.

The price hike at Ohio State means the annual cost for new students will rise from $6,651 to $7,506, according to spokesman Elizabeth Conlisk.

BGSU President Sidney Ribeau said that once again the increases were necessitated by state budget cuts. Next year, the university is prepared to absorb $2.6 million in reduced basic state funding.

BGSU's budget for next year, approved yesterday, includes $4 million in personnel cuts made mostly by eliminating vacant positions. Officials managed to squeeze in 3 percent merit raises for faculty and administrative and classified staff as well as smaller merit increases for eligible faculty and staff.

Trustee Michael Marsh touted the budget's $5.5 million boost to financial aid, at least somewhat easing the tuition hike.

"I think we're trying to do it in a way that doesn't block access here to get an education," he said.

The board also passed a resolution allowing officials to sell the university-owned president's house on Hillcrest Drive.

Dr. Ribeau moved out of the house over a year ago. He has since bought his own residence.

Ed Ferkany, newly elected chairman of the board of trustees, said it became evident that doing anything with the existing property would cost significantly more than the $750,000 allocated by the BGSU Foundation.

So now the university can sell the property, and the foundation will pursue buying a site for a more suitable presidential home. It would then lease the site to BGSU, Mr. Ferkany said.

The board also authorized officials to issue up to $35 million in bonds to support information system improvements and other initiatives because of relatively low current interest rates.

Contact Ryan E. Smith at:

ryansmith@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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