Expect more tuition increases as Ohio colleges and universities grapple with a double whammy, the loss of federal stimulus funds and big cuts being sought by Gov. John Kasich.
Taken together, those lost funds translate to a likely 17 percent reduction in operating money for the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University for the 2012 fiscal year. Area community colleges fared slightly better, with anticipated cuts of 8 to 12 percent.
BGSU spokesman Dave Kielmeyer said a proposed tuition increase of 3 to 3.5 percent is likely to come before that school's board of trustees before the fall semester.
"A lot of the low-hanging fruit on cuts is gone. We're down to some of the tougher decisions," he said.
Ohio colleges and universities are currently under an annual 3.5-percent cap on tuition increases.
"Most schools are definitely looking at the possibility of tuition increases. We are not alone in that," said Mari Yoder, vice president for institutional advancement at Northwest State Community College in Archbold.
In an interview last month, UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs said the Kasich plan was a "responsible budget," but did not identify how the university planned to cope with it. UT officials did not elaborate when asked for comment yesterday.
Retiring BGSU President Carol Cartwright said in a March 16 letter to faculty and staff that Mr. Kasich's proposed cuts "will present a significant challenge for us." She also stated in that letter that a tuition increase was being contemplated.
"We face some difficult decisions in the coming months, but I think it is important for all of us to understand that we cannot cut our way to prosperity," she wrote. "We need to make investments in key areas where we can achieve strong returns and generate new revenues."
The sour economy inspired more people to seek training that could make them more marketable.
Northwest State, which has about a 5,000-member student body, grew by 30 percent over a three-year period before its enrollment leveled off.
"At this point, Northwest State has been able to weather the budget storm due to increased enrollment figures we have seen," Ms. Yoder said.
Owens Community College saw a steady enrollment boost too, although numbers there have also leveled off.
John Satkowski, Owens executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the Wood County community college is ready for its anticipated 12 percent cut because it was anticipating one closer to 20 percent.
"A cut is never good, but the reduction is less than what we expected," Mr. Satkowski said.
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