Kent State Keeps Tuition Increase Under State-Set Cap; Entire Increase Goes to Student Financial Aid
Pointing to Kent State University’s successful efforts to meet the needs of 21st-century students and manage the university’s finances efficiently and responsibly, the Kent State University Board of Trustees on June 27, 2013, enacted a 1.5-percent tuition increase and announced that all of it will be used to help students come to, stay in and graduate from college.
The increase in undergraduate and graduate tuition, which is effective Fall Semester 2013 and is expected to generate about $4.75 million, is part of a $638 million ($638,233,178) balanced operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that the Board approved on June 27. All of the tuition increase will fund scholarships, grants and other financial aid for students across Kent State’s eight campuses.
“The Board could not have been more diligent as we weighed the many factors that affect the budget,” says Board Chair Jane Murphy Timken. “Keeping the affordability concerns of our students and their families foremost in mind, we allocated funds in a way that keeps university operations fiscally efficient and also allows the continuation of improvements that are attracting thousands of high-achieving students to Kent State. Our success in areas such as enrollment, retention and fundraising led the Board to conclude the 1.5-percent tuition to be appropriate.”
About $1.7 million of the tuition increase will be dedicated to Trustee Scholarships for new freshmen enrolled at the Kent Campus. About $1.75 million of the tuition increase will be earmarked for scholarships and grants awarded in previous years, or for nonfreshmen. And about $1.1 million of the tuition increase will support financial aid for students at the university’s seven Regional Campuses.
The tuition increase is the lowest enacted by Kent State in the last four years and is less than the state-mandated, 2-percent limit on undergraduate tuition for the 2013-14 academic year. Kent State’s continuing, robust enrollment — including a record number of commitments from incoming freshmen who will attend the flagship Kent Campus this fall — was a key factor in the decision to keep the increase under the state-mandated cap.
“We continue to do an outstanding job of managing our finances and growing enrollment,” says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “This allowed us to help our students by keeping the tuition increase below the state-mandated limit and at a rate below many of our sister institutions.” The tuition increase is expected to keep Kent State’s full-time tuition and fees seventh lowest among Ohio’s 13 public universities.
Effective Fall Semester 2013, undergraduate tuition for students at the Kent Campus will increase $72 per semester (from $4,836 to $4,908). Graduate tuition will increase $77 per semester (from $5,145 to $5,222).
The educational and operating budget approved by the Board for Kent State’s eight-campus system spans Fiscal Year 2013-14 (July 1, 2013–June 30, 2014) and reflects a projected increase in the university’s state allocation resulting from a new formula that rewards positive enrollment and student graduation trends. Priorities addressed in the budget include investments in student financial aid beyond the funds generated by the tuition increase; investments in academic programs and new faculty to support strong enrollment; support for library collections; facility repairs and improvements; the annual repayment of bonds that are allowing the major, multiyear building and renovation initiative known as Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future; costs associated with contract agreements with employees represented by bargaining units; and a 2-percent, salary-increase pool for full-time, unrepresented employees.
In other action:
The Board unanimously passed a resolution of appreciation to Jacqueline Woods, former AT&T Ohio president, who is ending her nine-year term on the volunteer Kent State University Board of Trustees, and honored her with the designation of Trustee Emeritus of Kent State University. Woods’ service includes two years as Board chair, a year as chair of the External Relations and Development Committee, and a year as chair of the Finance and Administration Committee. The Board’s resolution commended Woods, a Solon resident, for providing leadership during “a tremendous time of change and revitalization in the life of the university”; for devoting “extraordinary time, effort and passion to her stewardship of Kent State University”; and for her focus on the “bottom lines” of financial integrity and academic excellence.