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Tuition freezes for students, raises some fees

When the University announced its tuition freeze for the 2014-15 academic year, some students and parents let out a sigh of relief as the costs of their education were kept consistent for at least one year.

The University was one of two state schools that did not increase tuition rates.

But did the freeze actually pay off?

Dr. Joseph Frizado, vice provost for academic operations and assessment, said there’s no way to really know if the freeze impacted enrollment.

At the moment, he said the numbers were above last year’s.

“It’s likely we’ll end up with the same number of students on the main campus as last year, once the first week of classes is complete and we have a better idea of who’s staying,” Frizado said. “The [tuition] freeze was not done to increase enrollment, though.”

The freeze was put into place to “stabilize financial commitments for students and families.”

According to the University website, the total cost to attend for an in-state student is $18,850. For out-of-state students the total comes to $26,158. These totals include tuition, room and a meal plan; they do not account for books or other University fees.

Although the University did not increase tuition or room and board rates, some class and administrative fees needed to be added or increased.

Sherideen Stoll, vice president of finance and administration, said a counseling fee and new career development fee were put into place.

“The amount an individual is charged is dependant upon the student’s class ranking,” Stoll said.

When deciding how to lower tuition, the first component that is looked at are all the fees, Frizado said.

If there is a service that the vast majority of students use, it’s included in the tuition total.

In addition to raising some fees for the 2014-15 school year, Stoll said the University has taken even more measures the past couple of years to keep costs low for students.

Some examples include energy conservation and efficiency projects, unpaid leave for employees, redesigned health benefit plans and reducing employee headcount.

Stoll said once renovation concludes in some of the buildings in old campus, they will be able to “relocate current occupants out of West Hall and Family and Consumer Sciences” to demolish those buildings.

“Permanently reducing the size of the physical campus footprint will mean cost savings from heating, cooling, repairs, maintenance and cleaning,” Stoll said.

Although the University has continued to try to lower costs, Stoll said it can be difficult.

“[The University] expects to receive nearly the same amount of dollars from the State of Ohio as we received in 1995,” she said. “Unfortunately, almost everything costs more than it did then. The fact is that less state support requires universities to turn to tuition and general fees for adequate financial resources.”

According to Stoll, in 1995 the state provided nearly half of the financial support for the University, whereas now it provides 22 percent.

Some students and parents are starting to question whether this year’s tuition freeze will lead to an even bigger increase in tuition costs, compared to previous years.

Jodie Siciliano, mother of Maria Siciliano who will be a freshman this year, said the University was her daughter’s top choice, but she worries about future costs.

“The [tuition] freeze didn’t affect her decision; this is where she wanted to go, so she would have come whether tuition went up or not,” Siciliano said. “It does make you wonder, though, what next year’s fees might be – if they’re going to go up a lot to try to compensate for this year.”

As of press time, it’s too early to know what next year’s exact costs will be, according to Stoll.

“Regardless of whether we froze tuition or not, BGSU can only increase tuition in subsequent years to the extent permitted by law,” she said.

In the most recent biennium, the State of Ohio approved a maximum increase per year for tuition and general fees of 2 percent.

“[The University] is very aware of the financial burden families and students take on when they choose to attend college,” Stoll said. “We’re committed to keeping the cost of attending BGSU as affordable as possible without compromising on quality.”

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