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Fee freeze, 3.5 percent tuition increase is likely

Ohio State officials will recommend an overall 3.2 percent increase in tuition and fees to the Board of Trustees for the 2012-2013 academic year.

The recommendation given Wednesday includes a 3.5 percent increase on tuition, and a freeze on all mandatory fees for students, so students will see an overall increase of 3.2 percent over current rates.

While not yet official, the Board of Trustees is expected to approve the plan during their meeting on June 22.

The increase will add an extra $312 to the average in-state undergraduate students bill. Paying $9,615 in tuition and $421 in mandatory fees, if approved, the increase will bring the annual cost to $10,036.

Graduate and non-resident tuition will also increase by 3.5 percent.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich set 3.5 percent as the ceiling on yearly tuition increases, but Geoff Chatas, OSU chief financial officer, said if the ceiling had been higher, the increase rate would not have changed.

“We had long discussions about balancing quality and affordability, we were pretty comfortable that when we ran the numbers … the 3.2 (percent) total increase, we would meet those objectives.” Chatas said.

Joseph Alutto, executive vice president and provost at OSU, said in a press release that the increase is necessary to maintain competitive academically.

“We remain committed to keeping costs affordable for students without sacrificing quality. However, we need these funds to maintain the quality of our academic programs,” Alutto said.

Tuition is expected to increase 3.5 percent in the fall for the second consecutive year, after it was first approved before the 2011-2012 academic year.

“The tuition increase is not good, but we were able to keep the fees frozen, ” said Taylor Stepp, Undergraduate Student Government president.

Chatas said the university has agreed to freeze mandatory fees in an effort to keep OSU affordable.

“I was working with the undergraduate student leaders and we agreed last year, so this is the second year we are doing it, that we would attempt to keep costs, the cost increase as low as possible. Last year we kept those mandatory fees at zero, so we agreed this year we would do the same thing. It’s really just to make sure we could keep things affordable,” Chatas said.

Stepp said the coming tuition increase is necessary to keep the university competitive.

“We want to make sure we have every advantage for students,” Stepp said.

Some students don’t agree that the extra money the university needs should be attached to their bill.

“With inflation it is necessary to increase tuition, but I don’t know if 3.5 percent is reasonable,” said Ellen Milligan, a first-year in English and French. “Especially, since there is a cut in government funding for higher education, the university does need to get money from somewhere, I just don’t think it’s fair for it to come from us.”

Others found that they had more questions than answers about where their money was going.

“I can only imagine what it takes to keep the lights on and keep everything running,” said Gareth Dismore, a second-year in computer science. “At the same time are the expenses that they are incurring or the increases that they are taking on in terms of expense or growth, whatever the case may be, and the question is what does that mean for students? And it’s a question I don’t know the answer to, but it would at least provide some insight into what’s going on.”

Patrick Seaworth, Lindsey Barrett, Thomas Bradley and Iliana Corfias contributed to this story.


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