Kent State University Board of Trustees Approves Tuition Guarantee to Support Students and Parents
The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved a tuition guarantee plan that will provide students and their families certainty in budgeting for college tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board including meal plans. Board members were presented with details of the plan during their Dec. 13 meeting on the Kent Campus, and the Board will be asked to approve specific rates for the tuition guarantee at its next meeting in March.
The college tuition guarantee is in alignment with the state of Ohio’s strategy for tuition affordability when implemented, effective with the 2018 Fall Semester.
The Kent State guarantee will freeze undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees and room and board rates including meal plans for a four-year period for each cohort of degree-seeking students that begins at any of the Kent State campuses.
“Students and their parents will have some peace of mind when it comes to the cost of an education,” said Mark Polatajko, Kent State’s senior vice president for finance and administration. “We know from talking with parents that paying for college takes effective planning, and the guarantee reaffirms our commitment to put students first in helping them meet the challenges of earning a valuable bachelor’s degree.”
The Board has not raised in-state, undergraduate tuition since 2014.
University leaders will now explore various pricing options, specifically the proposed tuition rate for the first cohort of students entering in fall 2018 as well as rates for room and board.
Board Embraces Strategies of 10-Year Facilities Master Plan
The Board learned more about the transformational strategies of a proposed 10-year master plan, which would serve as the next step in shaping the university’s vibrant future. The plan combines cutting-edge teaching and learning environments via new/renovated facilities with additional inclusive, engaged and healthy living-learning environments, and the possibility of a dynamic university entrance along Main Street to support Kent State’s world-class educational curriculum.
University leaders proposed that the master plan would be implemented in three phases over 10 years, and would guide the alignment of university and external resources and capital investments with the objectives set forth in Kent State’s strategic roadmap.
The plan highlights new facilities including a new College of Business Administration building and a Design Innovation Center. In addition, dining areas would be added in the front campus, along with walkways and bike paths, and significant upgrades that would expand and strengthen Kent State’s synergy with the city of Kent. The result would be an enhanced campus character and genuine sense of place.
The plan’s strategy aims to:
- Extend the university’s iconic, picturesque Front Campus
- Create a signature gateway to the Kent Campus
- Manifest innovation through a walkable campus core
- Enhance a dynamic campus life for students
- Expand and strengthen the university’s connection to the city of Kent
The strategies were developed with broad input from a series of highly engaged town hall and community meetings. University leaders, including President Beverly Warren, reviewed the plan in detail with city and community leaders in October, and additional informational sessions were held to seek creative input from students, faculty and staff. Details about the updated plan can be found at https://atransformedksu.org/.
The Board endorsed the creation of a facilities master plan in September 2016. Board members will consider adopting the plan at their March 7, 2018, meeting.
Board Endorses Strategic Partnership With Berkshire Schools
The Board endorsed a resolution of support for the establishment of a strategic partnership with Berkshire Local Schools. The endorsement supports the creation of a strategic partnership that, if a sufficient and timely bond issue is supported by the local community, would include the construction of a K-12 facility on unused land at Kent State University at Geauga in Burton, Ohio.
The partnership creates a “Cradle to Career” pipeline for approximately 1,250 students (K-12) on one campus along with Kent State Geauga students. The new school will bring career and college readiness to the forefront in a central hub for the community that prepares students for current and future workforce demands.
Potential benefits to the university include new facilities that would be available for evening and weekend classes, access to K-12 classrooms for Kent State education majors and faculty, an additional research setting for Kent State faculty and students and opportunities for educational and shared services.
Next, the project moves to local voters for the consideration of a bond issue approving the school construction and the district’s assurance of available funding for its operation. Upon approval of the bond issue, university administration would be authorized to complete formal negotiations with Berkshire Local Schools to prepare for approval of the Board a final agreement including a ground lease for real property at Kent State in Burton.
Board Approves Revision in Name and Structure of the Liquid Crystal Institute to the Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute
The Board approved the revision in name and structure of the Liquid Crystal Institute to the Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute, effective fall 2018. The revision recognizes the need to embrace the broad array of advanced materials research conducted at Kent State and updates the administrative structure to reflect a new, broader mission to further enhance Kent State’s strength in advanced materials research.
The Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute brings together researchers across the campus with interests in basic research, applied research, and development and application of advanced materials. Faculty will have ready access to the institute’s combined research facilities that will create an attractive environment to secure extramural funding, broaden academic offerings and grow enrollment. The institute will incorporate current administrative structure, support and facilities to ensure the widest use of these facilities and investments.
In other news:
- The Board named the Hoover Foundation Musicology Classroom, located on the ground floor in the Fine Arts Building at Kent State University at Stark. The Hoover Foundation has given nearly $480,000 to Kent State, and in June 2017, pledged $100,000 to Kent State Stark’s Fine Arts Building expansion and renovation project.
- The Board named the William J. and Pearl F. Lemmon Visiting Artist Gallery and the MJ and Pat Albacete Student Art Gallery, both located on the first floor in the Fine Arts Building at Kent State Stark. Mr. Lemmon, a friend of Kent State and a supporter of WKSU and higher education in Stark County, pledged $200,000 to the Kent State Stark’s Fine Arts Building expansion and renovation project.
- The Board approved the following new degree programs:
- The School of Theatre and Dance within the College of the Arts will establish the Musical Theatre major within the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
- The School of Theatre and Dance within the College of the Arts will establish the Theatre Design, Technology and Production major within the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
- The College of Public Health will establish the Clinical Epidemiology major within the Master of Science degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
- The Board approved the revision in name of the Fashion major within the Master of Fashion degree to the Fashion Industry Studies major within the Master of Fashion Industry Studies degree, effective 2018. The major is administered by the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising within the College of the Arts.
- The Board approved the following inactivations:
- The School of Theatre and Dance within the College of the Arts will inactivate the Theatre Studies major within the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, effective fall 2018. The Theatre Studies major’s two concentrations – in musical theatre and design/technology – are being established as separate majors, which negates the need for the Theatre Studies major.
- The College of Aeronautics and Engineering will inactivate the Technology major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2018. The Technology major has had a significant decline in enrollment due to reorganization and the establishment of other more robust and viable technology-related programs at the university.
- The Board ratified the Fiscal Year 2017 Efficiency Report and Master Recommendations report as submitted to the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education on Oct. 12, 2017, in accordance with Ohio Revised Code 381.550. The annual report demonstrates progress and realized savings from the 2016 Affordability and Efficiency Report submitted in the previous year. The report indicates that savings from the original Fiscal Year 2017 estimate were $1.24 million higher than originally projected.
- The Board endorsed the university responses to state budget legislation related to remediation, duplication and review of courses and programs. The Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 49 that requires the boards of trustees of public universities to issue a report regarding the remediation of students and to evaluate all courses and programs the institution offers based on duplication with other state institutions, enrollment and performance in each course program. The university reports will be submitted to the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the superintendent of public instruction by the required deadline of Dec. 31, 2017.
- The Board approved the Kent State University Higher Education Six-Year Capital Plan for Fiscal Years 2019-2024. The Ohio Department of Higher Education requires that each institution of public higher education in Ohio prepare a six-year capital plan. Kent State’s proposed capital plan identifies those projects that are most important to the institution in terms of facilitating the upgrade of campus infrastructure to address specific academic program requirements and to address the backlog of deferred maintenance. The proposed plan primarily includes projects funded by state capital appropriations and does not list projects solely financed by local funding, philanthropy or utilizing a public/private partnership.
- The Board authorized the senior vice president for finance and administration to proceed with the following capital improvement projects:
- Space vacated by the College of Architecture and Environmental Design in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MACC) Annex will be repurposed to create a new multisport development center to support men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball. The estimated renovation cost of $1.7 million will be supported by philanthropic gifts.
- The College of Podiatric Medicine building in Independence, Ohio, will have a partial roof replacement. The roof on the building is original from the building construction in 1979 and is in failing condition. The college has budgeted $1,070,000 in facility improvement funds to address this project.
- Kent State University at Ashtabula will renovate its existing lecture hall in the Main Hall Auditorium, providing an improved student learning environment and accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility. The project will be supported with a combination of local funds ($25,000), state capital funds ($325,000), foundation funds ($500,000) and a federal Appalachian Regional Commission Grant ($250,000). Total cost of the project is $1.1 million.
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