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Published: Saturday, 6/23/2007

Bowling Green State University keeps tuition same; room, board increase 3%

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University board of trustees yesterday approved a 2007-08 budget that calls for no increase in tuition, but an increase in room-and-board fees.

The room-and-board hike is 3 percent, or $194.

Basing the numbers on what the Ohio Senate has proposed, the budget keeps next year's tuition at current levels for both undergraduate and graduate students. It also shows a 7.4 percent increase in state support. The combined budget for BGSU is about $400 million.

The university budget is contingent on approval of the state budget, which is expected before July 1.

Gov. Ted Strickland's budget proposes a tuition freeze the first year and a 3 percent increase in the second, with a 5 percent increase in state funding the first year and 2 percent increase the second year.

The budget proposed by the Ohio House has a tuition growth cap at 3 percent the first year and frozen in the second, with a 3 percent increase in instructional support of 2 percent the first year and 10 percent the second year.

BGSU President Sidney Ribeau said the proposed budgets are evidence the governor and other elected officials have rallied behind higher education.

"The trajectory is going in the right direction," Mr. Ribeau said during yesterday's meeting. "We're very pleased at where we are at this particular moment."

Mr. Ribeau said affordability is a key component that students use when deciding whether to attend a four-year university.

"By stabilizing tuition, we're sending the right signal that a four-year degree is attainable for all of our citizens - not just the wealthy," he said.

If the budget approved by the state is closer to the House's proposal, BGSU would see a $944,000 gain next year.

A budget similar to the Senate's proposal would provide the university with an additional $1.7 million, said Chris Dalton, former senior vice president for finance and administration.

Mr. Dalton stepped down from his position May 31 and retires at the end of July. He oversaw the university's budget for 20 years.

Sherideen Stoll replaced Mr. Dalton as BGSU's chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration.

The budget calls for $3 million in cost reductions, including $1.4 million in cost efficiencies required by the proposed state budget. Plans to achieve that are being developed.

Mr. Dalton said a potential cost-saving measure would be to create a consortium of universities statewide to buy pharmaceutical products for their institutions.

"You can get significantly higher discounts which can lead to significant savings," he said.

About eight people holding signs supporting Carlos Adams, who was not re-hired to teach in the university's ethnic studies department this year, walked into the board's meeting room about midway through the meeting. They stood silently at the back of the room.

Mr. Adams and his supporters believe he is out of a job because last year he opposed the hiring of the department's chairman, Timothy Messer-Kruse - the first white to lead the ethnic studies department since it was created some 30 years ago.

The protestors left the meeting after about 10 minutes.

The board of trustees approved the hiring of Shirley Baugher as the new provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Ms. Baugher is from the University of Minnesota, where she was dean emeritus of the college of human ecology and a professor in the department of family social science.

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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