23 Feb 2012

Tuition Increase in BGSU

Author: Ugomma Ihejirika | Filed under: BGSU, Localizing story, Spring 2012, Uncategorized

      By Ugomma Ihejirika

Bowling Green State University students had to pay a 3.5 percent tuition increase this year and it is likely that there might be more increases in the future because of unreliable state funds.

In addition to the tuition increase, the Board of Trustees is also deciding on increasing the rates of residence halls by 3 percent for 2013. They are expected to come to a decision on Friday.

With the 3.5 percent increase students are paying $168 more per semester in addition to other fees such as general fees, room and boarding, books and other miscellaneous costs.

From 1999-2010, prices at public undergraduate institutions have increased by 37 percent, according to CollegeBoard.com.

President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union address and his visit to Michigan State University, that the increase in tuition makes college less accessible and people are acquiring more debts through loans.

The sticker price of studying and living on campus at the average public university rose 5.4% for in-state students, or about $1,100, to $21,447 this fall, the College Board estimated.

Following the trend of tuition increase at BGSU, in 2002, there was a 6 percent tuition increase. Although, the University has kept the price of tuition set since 2006, in 2010, it increased it by 3.5, which was a $159 increase.

Distribution of Full-Time Undergraduates at Four-Year Institutions by Percentage and Dollar Increase in Published Tuition and Fees, 2011-12 from Collegeboard.com

Under 3% 9.6% 14.4%
3% to <6% 34.9% 70.7%
6% to <9% 23.4% 11.9%
9% to <12% 12.3% 2.6%
12% to <15% 5.7% 0.3%
15% to <18% 5.6% 0.1%
18% to <21% 2.3% 0.0%
21% or more 6.1% 0.1%
Dollar Increase Public Four-Year Private Nonprofit Four-Year
Under $200 6.1% 6.9%
$200 to $399 27.5% 2.7%
$400 to $599 22.8% 3.8%
$600 to $799 13.9% 7.1%
$800 to $999 7.2% 9.6%
$1,000 to $1,199 5.2% 13.4%
$1,200 to $1,399 7.7% 15.2%
$1,400 to $1,599 3.2% 16.4%
$1,600 to $1,799 1.0% 10.6%
$1,800 to $1,999 4.6% 7.0%
$2,000 or more 0.9% 7.3%

Also, BGSU was just listed as having the highest student loans’ in Ohio and the eleventh highest nationwide, according to Project on Student Debt, an organization that tracks the amount of debt students incur through higher education.

According to Geofrey Tracy, director of budgeting at BGSU, the price of room and board is low compared to other schools, so the rate of tuition in addition to room and board puts the total fees at an average rate.

Before tuition is increased, there are a lot of things that go into consideration such as the cost of utility, wages, fringe benefits, health care services etc. And the money gotten from state has reduced from 70 percent to below 25 percent in recent years, Tracy said.

With state funds being reduced, college institutions have to find a way to maintain income and this in turn leads to tuition increase.

“For the past two years, the university received a stimulus package, but after it ended, the university was hit pretty hard,” Tracy said.

As for financial aid that is being provided to match the tuition hike, there is an increase, although not much.

At the beginning of the year, a student’s need is taken into consideration through the Free Application for Federal  Student Aid and sometimes, the student may qualify for need-based aid such as the Pell Grant or the Federal Work Study program.

And in a situation where the student is unqualified for any of the aids, the student might have to depend on the limited amount of scholarships available, loans, personal savings or even family aid.

I encourage students to try and get as much free money as they can get before settling on loans, and they should only borrow what they need and not want, said Eric Bucks, associate director, client services and scholarships at BGSU.

Also, the university offers programs that teach students how to manage their money and what to do to avoid extra debt after graduation.

“Obama’s proposal for colleges to reduce tuition for federal aid sounds good in theory, but if there are little to no state funds, it makes it harder to cover school cost,” Tracy said.

Unlike BGSU, George Washington University just reaffirmed its plan to hold tuition steady for five years. Also the University of the South set a steady fee for the incoming freshmen of 2012 and holds steady through spring 2016, according to New York Times. This can be a good thing for students and their family but one has to think of what the school is giving up on the side to make this commitment.

“It sucks that tuition has to increase, but it is understandable because of the new building and maintenance,” said Kyle MacDonald, a senior communications major form Cleveland. He estimated that 10 percent of his tuition comes from personal savings and income, 70 percent is government aid and 20 percent is covered by loans.


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