Published Thu, Apr 19, 2012 10:39 pm Dateline
Updated Fri, Apr 20, 2012 10:42 am
Ohio University board of trustees held a committee meeting Thursday to discuss the details of OU's proposed tuition hike and to give board members the opportunity to ask questions.
On Wednesday, students gathered on OU's campus to rally against the tuition increase. Students like Jacob Chaffin say putting the burden on people who are seeking an education is just not fair.
"Taking out massive student loans so they are going to be paying for it the rest of their lives isn't fair, and it's not right and it seems like the university is complacent with that. That needs to change," Chaffin said. Chaffin is a junior education major at OU.
University officials are proposing instructional and general fees for undergraduate students to increase by 3.5 percent, or about $350 a year.
They are also seeking approval for an increase in room and board rates. The proposed hike would increase standard double room rates by 3.5 percent and increase board rates by 1.5 percent.
Steve Golding, OU's vice president for finance, said it's not a decision the university wanted to make.
"Do we want costs to go up? Would we like to control costs? Absolutely. Do we want to find alternative ways? That's why we had this conversation this morning. How do we be more entreprenerual? How do we be more creative?" Golding said. "But the benchmark that we have to measure ourselves against which you rightfully have reminded us of this past year is the quality of the institution, the quality of the program."
According to a 2011-2012 study by the College Board organization, the average dollar increase in tuition and fees for public four-year college students was $540.
"Five hundred dollars every year, $600 dollars or more. That's where we're gonna get, quite realistically, that's where we will be if we don't address it now," said Chaffin.
Chaffin said student groups are currently working on legislation to bring tuition down, and there's a bill going through the House of Representatives that would give student trustee's voting rights.
"That's huge. If we have student trustees that are able to vote on these decisions, they not just have influence, but they have actual votes. A direct action that would be huge for the student power on every campus," Chaffin said.
The board will meet in full session Friday and is expected to endorse the tuition plan.
The proposed increase only pertains to students on OU's Athens campus, and will not impact students on OU's regional campuses.