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Published: Thursday, 10/25/2007

Report: Ohio colleges hold the line on tuition


COLUMBUS, Ohio The state s public universities are living up to an agreement with lawmakers to hold the line on tuition, but some colleges are charging students more to live on campus and raising other fees, a newspaper reported Thursday.

Still, the average percentage increase in room and board and many of the special fees is equal or lower than most of the hikes in recent years, according to a review by The Columbus Dispatch.

Counting tuition, required fees and room and board, Central State University has the lowest cost for a four-year school at $11,464 a year. Miami University is the highest, with a list price of $20,043, the newspaper said.

There was some speculation that colleges would try to skirt around the tuition freeze by substantially raising room and board, said Michael Chaney, a spokesman for the Ohio Board of Regents. It isn t happening.

In June, Gov. Ted Strickland and state lawmakers approved a two-year freeze on tuition and mandatory fees that applies to all undergraduates. Ohio tuitions had increased an average of 9 percent a year since 1996, making the state 50 percent more expensive than the national average.

In return for holding the line, Ohio s public universities will receive $254 million more from the state over the next two years.

Only select fees are being increased, The Dispatch said.

For example, Miami University increased its bus fee by $3. The fine for illegal parking went up by $10, and the cost of an annual parking pass increased by $30 to $100.

A few colleges were also given exemptions to increase some required fees. Ohio State University raised its recreation fee by $3 a quarter, and Ohio University hiked its student union fee by $180 a year.

I believe in the cap and think we need to push forth to keep tuition as low as we can even after the freeze, said Adolph Haislar, senior associate vice president for finance and business services at Miami University.

The challenge will be generating new income that isn t charged to students.

This year, the average cost to live in an Ohio dorm rose 2.7 percent to $7,509, compared with last year s rise of 4.7 percent. The percentage, however, includes Central State s decision to drop its rate by 16.6 percent.

The yearly rates range from $6,170 at Central State to $8,799 at the University of Cincinnati, The Dispatch said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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