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Board of Trustees to discuss budget, tuition, development at April meeting

The governing body of the Ohio State University, the Board of Trustees, will have plenty to discuss as they gather for scheduled meetings Thursday and Friday.

The board plans to address several financial matters ranging from the $1 billion Medical Center expansion to an increase in OSU golf course membership fees.

The board is scheduled to finalize a joint resolution establishing the Preferred Pathway Program, which is a cooperative effort between OSU and Columbus State Community College to guarantee qualified CSCC students a path to an OSU bachelor’s degree.

Brandon Mitchell, the graduate student trustee, said the board will focus on three major areas: strategic planning, funding and budget issues, and development reports.

University CFO, Geoffrey Chatas is scheduled to give a state budget and fiscal year 2012 preview, which is particularly significant because this is the first board meeting since Gov. John Kasich released his state budget proposal.

“There were significant cuts and it will be interesting to see how well the university will buffer itself to potential changes,” said Jason Marion, a former trustee from 2007 to 2009.

Kasich’s budget proposed cuts in funding for local governments and school districts, the sale of five correctional facilities, a lease on the state liquor agency and reducing Medicaid.

The budget could also affect tuition costs. While it caps tuition increases at 3.5 percent, the state’s higher education budget would decrease from $2.56 billion to $2.3 billion in 2012 and would rise to $2.38 billion in 2013.

Alexis Swain, the undergraduate student trustee, said the board is limited in how much tution can be raised because of the 3.5 percent cap Kasich placed on undergraduate tuition increases.

“So, now we have to wrestle with this gap between ‘we can only raise tution so much and we lost funding from the state’,” Swain said. She said finding other ways to control costs will be a top priority for the board.

This will be the last board meeting for Swain and vice chair Douglas G. Borror as their terms come to an end in May.

Board chairman Leslie Wexner’s term was also scheduled to expire this year, but Kasich announced Wexner’s reappointment Tuesday night.

“Les Wexner has been an incomparable leader of Ohio State’s Board of Trustees, and I applaud the governor’s decision to reappoint him,” Gee said in an email. “Mr. Wexner’s wisdom, strategic vision and steady hand have been major forces guiding the University in so many ways, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue our work together.”

The board meetings are scheduled for Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and resume Friday at 9 a.m. at the Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Rd.


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