Update: OU Passes 1.5 Percent Tuition Increase

Dateline
Updated Fri, Jun 27, 2014 5:15 pm

The Ohio University Board of Trustees passed Friday a 1.5 percent tuition increase for its students, effective this fall.

The resolution passed Thursday's resources committee meeting unanimously, and passed Friday's full board meeting with only one "no" vote, which came from Janetta King. King said she believed the financial strength of the university - a major point of chest-pounding pride for most of these gatherings - should allow the school to stay away from tuition increases at this time.

Thursday, University provost Pam Benoit told the board - which is now chaired by David Brightbill instead of Sandra Anderson - that the tuition increase would bring $1.9 million to the university revenues, which are estimated to top $709 million for fiscal year 2015. The full budget was finalized at this meeting and was passed.

At its meetings Thursday on the Eastern Campus, the board heard the full proposal for the increase, which was not unexpected since news broke in April. The increase would amount to an average yearly hike of $156 per student.

The rise comes before the first year of the Ohio Guarantee Program, which freezes tuition for each class of students for 12 consecutive semesters, starting with the incoming freshman class of 2015-16. Benoit was asked how the tuition increase would affect student debt, to which she replied that she and her staff have found no direct link between tuition increases and student debt. Benoit noted that students take on debt for a variety of reasons - she listed study abroad and living expenses as two factors.

Related: NPR's "All Things Considered" discussed the topic of college tuition costs just a few weeks ago.

Benoit added that the university was continuing to help alleviate students' debt by investing in scholarship programs and financial aid, especially, she said, for those high-performance, high-need students, some of whom get no financial help from their families. Tuition at the Athens campus is currently $10,380 for in-state students, while out-of-staters pay just over $19,300 per year.

Tuition revenues for the university over the past four years:

-2012: $275.0 million

-2013: $294.5 million

-2014 (forecasted): $293.2 million

-2015 (budgeted): $310.5 million

Elsewhere in Ohio, more than half of the state's state-funded universities are planning to raise tuition.

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