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Tuition Changes for Fall 2004
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Tuition Changes for Fall 2004
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Today, the University’s Board of Trustees reluctantly approved a proposal to increase tuition and fees for most students by 9.9 percent. Tuition and fees for new students in the University’s School of Law will increase by 19 percent. The changes are effective for Fall Semester 2004. Tuition and fee schedules are available online at the Student Financials page.

You are receiving this news first. We want you to know the key factors in this difficult decision and what steps we might take to curb this regrettable trend.

Why is This Happening?
The truth about increasing tuition is clear, simple and frustrating – the State of Ohio pays less and less for your education, so your share of the cost increases. This graph tells the whole story with just a glance. Five years ago, University of Akron students paid 50 percent of the cost of their education, and the state paid the other half. Today, you pay 65 percent, while the state pays only 35 percent.

Like many states, Ohio is grappling with budget shortfalls, so it has imposed a series of ongoing spending cuts to Ohio’s public universities. The drop in state funding is astounding. The University of Akron now receives $10.8 million less in annual state funding than it did in 1999-2000. Keep in mind that, while our funding from the state was shrinking, our everyday expenses continued to increase.

It is projected that in 2004-05, state instructional funding to The University of Akron will decline by more than $2 million from the previous year. That reduction is mirrored across Ohio at other public institutions. Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Toledo and Central State already have enacted or proposed 9.9-percent tuition increases for this fall, and most other state universities in Ohio are expected to take similar actions in the near future.

Why Not Cut Costs Instead?
Last year The University of Akron saved approximately $3.1 million by not funding vacant positions and, while nearly every other Ohio public university gave salary increases in 2003-04, there was no similar general raise on our campus. In fact, due to our inability to pay increased health care costs, starting in 2004 many UA employees began paying up to 3 percent of their salaries for their health care insurance.

We continue to seek ways to reduce our expenses, but the cold reality is that the loss in revenue from the state is simply too large to be balanced through cost-cutting. Any attempt to do so would substantially reduce the quality of the educational programs for which you already are paying so dearly.

The 2004-2005 budget includes provisions for a 2.5-percent salary increase pool for faculty and staff. As previously mentioned, in the last year our faculty and staff (1) did not participate in the general increase in salaries enjoyed by their colleagues across the state, (2) have taken on greater workloads as vacant positions go unfilled and unfunded, and (3) have begun paying as much as 3 percent of their annual salaries for health care insurance. Just as this institution must compete for students, we also must compete with other institutions for faculty members who will give you the best education. If we cannot retain our best teachers and support staff, you will be paying more for an education that will benefit you less.

Why Not Stop the Building Projects?
Campus improvements, in the long run, stabilize and potentially reduce student costs rather than increase them. The more new students that The University of Akron enrolls, the more people there are to share costs. For better or worse, new student unions and recreation centers have become significant selling points to prospective students. An ironic consequence of reduced government funding is that state universities must compete more aggressively for students and, in the parlance of the marketplace, must therefore spend money to make money.

Nearly all of our building projects are funded by state capital funds, bond receipts and/or private gifts that are restricted by law to be used only for construction or renovation. The only student funds being used are those generated by the facilities fee, which enabled the construction of the Student Union and the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

The bottom line is that stopping our building projects would not lower your tuition.

What Is The University Doing to Help Students?
The 2004-2005 budget includes $1.6 million in new funding for need-based scholarships. Student financial aid packages reflect the tuition increase, and federal and state loan and grant program eligibility may be impacted for those who qualify. Again this year, The University of Akron will increase its scholarships. In addition, short-term, emergency loans are available to students.

At the same time, we are continuing efforts to further develop alternative sources of revenue, and to identify and eliminate unnecessary costs.

Those steps however, are addressing only symptoms; we must work together to fix the problem itself.

Silence Is Expensive
As the
graph to which we referred earlier shows, you are paying more because the state is paying less. Ohio ranks in the bottom half of the nation in per-capita funding of higher education, and the only individuals who can reverse this trend are Ohio’s legislators. But they are encountering pressure to take actions that are likely to increase your costs, not reduce them, in coming years.

In June 2005, the one-cent sales tax enacted by Ohio’s legislature last year is scheduled to end. If the sales tax is not extended, there will be an estimated $1.4 billion deficit in state funds, making it probable that higher education funding in Ohio will be slashed even further. Yet there is a strong lobby for the elimination of the tax.

There is no equivalent voice speaking out in favor of investing in a well-educated populace that will attract more business investment and earn higher salaries, both of which will produce greater revenues for the state.

We must persuade Ohio legislators to stop cutting higher education funding and to again invest in your future.

The Ohio legislature’s web page is
www.legislature.state.oh.us. By using your home ZIP code, you can identify your representatives and how to contact them. As a private citizen and voter, tell your representatives how you have been affected by their decisions to cut higher education. Urge them to assign higher education a high priority. Insist that your tax dollars be put to use to build our state’s educational infrastructure. Then encourage your parents, neighbors, relatives and friends to send the same message.
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How to Get Your Information In Zipmail
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The University of Akron's Zipmail is a compilation of University announcements for University students, sent each Friday unless circumstances require otherwise. The deadline for submissions to be considered by the University is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Zipmail is a University of Akron communication vehicle established for the benefit of The University of Akron to communicate with its students. Items will be accepted for publication only when the University is directly involved in the activity through participation, sponsorship, or partnership with one of its recognized organizations, colleges or departments. The University reserves the right to edit or to refuse to run any submission for any reason. Zipmail is not, nor is it intended to be, a public forum or a limited public forum. Questions about the implementation of this policy may be directed to zipmail@uakron.edu.

Items to be considered for inclusion in Zipmail should be sent through the Zipmail Event Submission Form. Due to the volume of submissions received, items will not run more than one time.

Questions about specific announcements should be made to the contact person/department/organization listed in the announcement.Your event will automatically be forwarded to the University's online calendar. The Zipmail Coordinator can be reached at x2837.
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