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Published: Saturday, 5/6/2006

BGSU trustees boosting total costs by $750


BOWLING GREEN - With its state subsidies projected to be cut, Bowling Green State University will raise its undergraduate student fees by $250 a semester and graduate student fees by $321 a semester, the school's board of trustees decided yesterday.

For Ohio residents, BGSU's sticker price next year, which includes tuition, room, board, and registration, will total $15,744, a $750 jump over the last year.

Part of that could be offset by the 16 percent increase in scholarships, which will total $58 million next year - or about one-fifth of the college's expenditures.

"When the state underfunds education and you have growing enrollments, the students pay for their share and the share the state is no longer providing," said Christopher Dalton, BGSU's senior vice president for finance and administration.

Along with $1.13 million in operating cost reductions, the fee increase will balance next year's $259 million budget.

BGSU's state funding is set to drop by $356,000 in 2007, continuing an ongoing trend in which students primarily bear the price of higher education.

Almost 20 years ago, about 60 percent of the college's revenue came from state government, according to a presentation by Mr. Dalton.

Tuition and fees charged to BGSU's 18,000 students now are expected to cover about 67 percent of the school's costs.

Noting the decline in state assistance, other public colleges and universities introduced similar fee hikes.

Ohio State University yesterday announced plans to increase their fees by 6 percent, the maximum amount possible.

"Given the hand we're dealt, I think the budget does a pretty good job of focusing, on the one hand, on financial aid, and, on the other hand, on compensation," Mr. Dalton said.

The budget includes a 4 percent raise for BGSU employees next year, a move designed to retain professors and administrators who might be wooed to other colleges that offer more lucrative salary packages.

Despite the raise, Bob Boughton, a physics professor and chairman of the faculty senate, warned trustees that BGSU still does not pay its employees enough.

"We currently rank eighth out of nine among our peers in Ohio, and each year appear to be losing ground," Mr. Boughton said. "With the current proposal, I fear we may be in last place."

Full BGSU professors make an average of $86,900 a year, about $2,400 less than their counterparts at the University of Toledo, according to a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

But unlike UT, BGSU lacks engineering or law schools, which typically employ professors who command higher salaries.

The BGSU trustees agreed to increase the annual budget for the university's Firelands campus in Huron, Ohio which confers associate degrees by 5 percent to $12.4 million.

The trustees also named Michael Wilcox, the founder of Wilcox Financial in Toledo, as their new chairman.

He replaces Sharon Cook, a Realtor in suburban Columbus.

Contact Joshua Boak at: jboak@theblade.com or 419-724-6728.

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