Trustees raise tuition and fees

Students returning in the fall will have more than just expensive books and frequent take-out to pay for. They will also be met with an increase in tuition and fees for the 2002-2003 school year.

Ball State University recently approved a budget that cuts about $1.5 million in spending. In reaction to the loss of funding, the Ball State University Board of Trustees approved a 10 percent increase for in-state tuition and a 12 percent increase for out of state tuition costs on May 5. That raises full-time tuition costs to $2,160 and $6,050 per semester.

The Technology fee, instituted last year, will also be increased. It will be temporarily raised to $130 per semester.

Rising enrollment and nearly $26 million in state funding cuts and payment delays were cited as reasons for the increase. At the meeting with the trustees BSU President Blaine A. Brownell stated that rising costs for new technology made it necessary to raise fees for upper level courses and technology.

The Technology fee increase is in reaction to a cut of more than $3.1 million in state technology funding.

"When the state starts to invest in technology again, we will reduce that fee accordingly," said H.O'Neal Smitherman, in a statement released to press after the meeting.

If the university fails to keep up with technological advances it will be more difficult to catch up later, Smitherman said.

The increase in tuition and fees will also be applied to operating expenses, building maintenance, financial aid and salary increases.

"If we do not have the best and the brightest in the classroom, we erode the value of a Ball State degree," Brownell said.

He said faculty and staff have been leaving Ball State for higher salaries and that hiring preferred candidates has been difficult.

The university has proposed other ways to reduce the budget gap, including review of vacant positions within the university. The areas of greatest student demand will receive greater consideration for new positions.

Administrative and academic support services, such as secretaries and student assistants, will also be reviewed to determine if cuts are possible in those areas. Operating costs, such as those for travel, supplies and new equipment will also be reviewed. Each department will be required to review their expenses.

Students and their parents can not solely be responsible for shouldering the increase in expenses, said Brownell.

"We feel that we have given diligent consideration to all of our options and have based these decisions on the long-range benefits they provide for our students, their parents and the state of Indiana," he said.

Other state universities have also increased tuition in reaction to funding cuts. Indiana University raised tuition 9 percent, and Purdue University raised tuition 10 percent, with an additional $1,000 fee for incoming freshman and transfer students. Increases for out of state students are higher at each university.

Most the Mid-American Conference schools have raised tuition as other state have also been cut. Most have chosen to keep the increase below 10 percent, but the University of Akron is considering an unusually high 15.8 percent increase.

Ball State University maintains on its Web site that increases of this size are uncommon and that the university is proceeding with faith that normal levels of funding will return.


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