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Campus reacts to tuition

As the first summer session began on Monday, students, faculty, and staff had a lot to talk about. The Bowling Green trustees’ decision to raise tuition for main-campus students by 9 percent for the academic year 2004-05 generated a plethora of reactions.

The increase in tuition will cost main-campus undergraduate students as much as $332 more per semester. It will cost graduate students $427 more per semester.

“Well, obviously, I’m not happy,” Alex Wright, president of the Undergraduate Student Government and chair of the Coalition against Rising Tuition (CART) said. “You won’t find a student that says they’re happy about the tuition increase.”

The University budget administrators did keep the increase below the 9.9 percent maximum allowed by the state.

As Wright pointed out in a short telephone interview, the decision to keep the tuition increase below the maximum confirms that the budget administrators recognize increases are a problem, and are working towards balancing education and affordability.

One-third of the increase will go towards 15 percent more funding for need-based financial aid, and improved funding for on campus technology services.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” Casey Toronto, a senior majoring in Spanish education, said, reacting to the tuition increase. “They’ve increased it a bunch the past couple of years, but I’m getting less financial aid. I don’t see any of the improvements. I’m probably going to have to get a different job and work more hours.”

The increase coincides with a 2004-05 state budget that projects 3.5 percent fewer funds than last year’s budget. The state has cut funding by over $1000 per-student since 2000.

“It is discouraging to see that the statehouse doesn’t recognize how vital and important higher education is,” Wright said. “I think it is our job as students to band together and with one solid voice go down to Columbus and show them just how important higher education is, and how these cuts affect the state of Ohio.”

The increase will also offset rising utility, health care, and technology costs, according to a University press release statement by Dr. Christopher Dalton, senior vice president for finance and administration.

Some University employees were stunned to learn they will receive a 3 percent raise and the possibility of another, smaller, merit-based raise, provided by the new budget.

“We have to stay competitive,” Wright said. Last year, our faculty pay increase was relatively low. This year it is a little more on par with everybody else.”

“I was quite surprised,” Dr. Dennis Hale, journalism professor, said. “I was expecting either no raise this year, or possibly 2 percent at most.”

“The University is doing the best they can to make education affordable and still be fiscally responsible,” Wright said, commending the board’s decision to increase employee’s pay and student’s financial aid.

In order to balance the budget, the University will be making $4 million in permanent cuts from personnel budgets.

Most of these reductions will remove vacant positions that have been on hiatus since the University’s hiring freeze went into effect.

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