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Ohio State room and board expected to inflate to roughly $20K in next decade

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The Board of Trustees convened this week, discussing a number of measures that would alter future costs for students.

In its finance committee meeting, the trustees previewed their impending June decision on what will happen with tuition, meal plans and housing for the 2015-16 academic year.

In-state students are looking at a potential maximum increase in tuition by 2 percent for the 2015-16 school year, but this will ultimately be determined by the support given to state schools in Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget.

Last year, the Board of Trustees voted to freeze tuition for in-state students at $10,037 for the 2014-15 academic year. For out-of-state students, however, the board increased the out-of-state surcharge 5 percent, raising tuition to $26,537.

Other costs finalized in the June meeting include housing costs, which are expected to increase 6 percent each year for 10 years due to the construction costs of the North Campus Residential District Transformation Project. Current room and board costs sit at $11,666 and a compounding rate would put it at $20,892 in 2025.

The trustees also approved a new construction project Friday that would replace the roofs on five or six campus buildings. This project is set to cost $6.3 million.

Additionally, the Board will revisit and finalize the costs of the university’s new meal plans, which were announced earlier this month.

The trustees also voted Friday to waive certain fees that students had previously been required to pay while studying abroad.

For at least the next two years, OSU students will not have to pay instructional and general fees to OSU while studying abroad in direct enroll programs or third-party providers approved by the university.

The Ohio Revised Code requires all students enrolled in the state’s public universities to pay that base tuition regardless of the number of credits a student takes.

OSU students who studied abroad in previous years had to effectively pay tuition twice, with charges to OSU and to the host institution as well.

The board approved a one-year waiver in 2014, and it extended that waiver Friday for the next two financial years, corresponding with the state’s biennial budget plan. The Board of Regents will have to approve the waiver.

The board’s audit and compliance committee addressed new concerns surrounding Title IX and pension responsibilities Thursday.

Chief compliance officer Gates Garrity-Rokous said he expects Washington to expand Title IX and Clery Act responsibilities for universities in the coming months, and OSU’s compliance office is currently working to meet new standards.

Garrity-Rokous said he expects a university agreement with the Office of Civil Rights to be completed by the fall. The university had just struck a prior deal with the OCR in September after a four-year investigation into Title IX violations at OSU.

Outgoing chief financial officer Geoff Chatas said at that meeting that he is generally pleased with the university’s self-auditing procedures, although he expressed concern over the efficacy of OSU’s current monitoring of its Global Gateways.

Audit and compliance chair Jerry Jurgensen agreed that Bricker Hall needs to take another look at its current practices, noting that the Global Gateways are especially hard to keep track of since “they tend to be small and they tend to be far away.”

The committee also discussed concerns over liability responsibility of a $2.7 billion pension pool from Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Changes in the management of OPERS has led to concern that OSU could suddenly be liable for a part of that pool, but Chatas said he currently believes the state will cover the costs.

In the academic affairs and student life committee meeting Thursday, provost Joseph Steinmetz reviewed developing changes in OSU’s academics.

OSU is currently working on expanding its eLearning. For this academic year, it offered 10 all-online general education classes, which Steinmetz said got 2,300 enrollees. He said OSU plans to boost the number of online gen-eds for the fall up to 25 and to make it easier for high schoolers to take them. OSU’s brand puts its online classes in high demand for high school students.

Despite declining interest in the school, Steinmetz announced a $5 million investment into the arts and humanities in February, and told the board Thursday that he wants OSU to find “a landmark niche” in the same way Stanford University has done with “digital humanities.” Steinmetz said the investment would be exclusively used on programs that promote collaboration and would make a statement about the importance of the humanities in the 21st century.

Despite a positive assessment on the progress of the Discovery Themes, trustee Janet Reid expressed concern that the university’s current academic scorecards will be inadequate to measure the effectiveness of OSU’s new academic initiatives.

“How can we measure that we are making discoveries from the Discovery Themes focus?” Reid said.

Board chair Jeffrey Wadsworth said there does need to be new benchmarks on whether OSU is meeting its goals, but said measuring innovation can be a quantitative nightmare. Wadsworth said values of patents, monetization of new technology and the winning of competitive grants could be a start to measure a normally subjective virtue.

Vice president for student life Javaune Adams-Gaston gave an update to the committee on the progress of the Second-year Transformational Experience Program, now in its second year.

Adams-Gaston said the programs development is progressing steadily, but said her office has noted certain apathies among some participants.

“Not all of the student want to experience one of those six experiences, even though there’s funding,” she said.

Amanda Etchison contributed to this article.

12 comments

  1. College costs are so out of sight. The amount of increase over the years has far surpassed the cost of living. The shame is that there is no incentive to lower costs. Colleges, like OSU, know there is a steady stream of applicants for a limited number of seats. Since everyone “has” to go to college, it is no longer special and certainly doesn’t warrant the costs parents have to endure. Years ago Bennington College in Vermont cut their tuition in half when applicants stopped applying.

  2. Welcome to what your corporate overlords in the state of Ohio think education should look like.
    Insane profits, not control over spending, and prices that push the majority of those in Ohio who need the education out of the market. All those dark skinned and poor people can figure it out at community college anyway. We need to make sure OSU looks as close to an Ivy as possible so we can justify milking it of every sent possible for privatization.

    Parking will be over a thousand by 2025, too. Tuition, even for in state students, can’t keep up with what the administration is spending… Its going to be $40k a year for an in state student to attend OSU inside of ten years. How does that possibly make sense? Show me the money trail.

    Where are the faculty when all this is happening?
    I can hear the complaints bout not getting a raise right now.
    What good is tenure if you don’t have the guts to use it occasionally.

  3. Ernie, I don’t know what you’re complaining about, its obvious that we need to charge students more so that we can subsidize study abroad programs for students who wish to be “well rounded”

    /s

  4. Anon,

    The school is not subsidizing study abroad programs. Rather, it is waving previous tuition and fee requirements that students who study abroad previously had to pay to OSU during their time abroad regardless of the fact that they were not taking classes at OSU and were not receiving any services from their paid fees. Students correctly do not have to pay OSU for these classes and services that they are not receiving. This policy is fair to students, encourages studying abroad by removing ridiculous, unnecessary costs, and should be extended indefinitely.

  5. Ernie,
    I imagine faculty, especially in the Humanities, are largely scrambling to stay afloat, given the slashing of budgets over the past few years. Some departments have seen roughly 25% of their operating budgets cut by the corporate overlords, which makes the article’s line about “declining interest in the college” pretty amusing. Cut budgets lead to fewer classes being offered, which for the powers-that-be means declining interest. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! Remember, certain high-ranking administrators here have been openly contemptuous of the College of Arts & Humanities, hence a rapidly disintegrating morale and exodus away from OSU.

    As for the tuition and board increases, I find it ridiculous that students will be paying, in 10 years, $20K to live in the dorms, on top of the probable $12-15K for tuition and fees. But the business wonks running this joint don’t see them as anything but walking ATM’s anyway, or their parents at least. The new motto at OSU seems to be “get them here and soak them as best you can,” ignoring their basic education in the process (ever listen to the tours given by Student Life? Not a single mention of academics, but lots about free shows, RPAC, and the campus proximity to the Short North). OSU has become a very misguided waste of real estate in many ways. I won’t be sending my own kids here when they’re old enough for college.

  6. Ohio State has nothing to do with education any more, it’s all about the “experience”, which is code speak for effin people in the butt as much as they can.

    Whenever they talk about keeping tuition affordable, which is stupid because it’s already unaffordable, they really mean they’ll just add costs elsewhere as in room and board and other ridiculous hidden fees.

    Mark my words, Ohio State will be in big trouble financially in 10-20 years when this house of cards collapses. The way the bureaucratic overlords are managing the University is unsustainable. They think they can just keep raising the costs and spending extravagantly because they believe they’ll just recruit wealthy kids from China, India, and Brazil to cover the costs.

  7. OSU is charging students $4000/semester to rent a room that is shared with another person? $4000/semester * 2 people is more than $1300/month for a room. And the administrators want to force more students to live in the dorms?

    http://housing.osu.edu/living-on-campus/fees-contracts-policies/standard-housing-rates/

    Javaune Adams-Gaston, PhD Vice President of Student Life $250,000 as of 2010.

    Is Gene Smith still getting bonuses for individuals winning national championships?

  8. Can’t believe I paid $150 a quarter tuition back in the day. No wonder people think their college major should pay off. Unfortunately, in the real world it doesn’t always, and people are left doing jobs (if one can get one) that don’t require a college education.

  9. I heard Javaune Adams-Gaston is a horrible person and runs Student Life like a tyrant. Can anyone confirm this?

    By the way, Dr J earned $333,000 in 2014 plus a $19k bonus. The top 44 people from Student Life earned over $5 million combined. Talk about a waste of money towards something that does nothing to improve the education.

    I also heard Student Life always complains about not having the proper funding for things. Is this true?

  10. Go figure that they are willing to up the room and board just after they started requiring a second year in the dorms for all students.

    This smacks of a money grab, and at this point I feel like they’re not even trying to hide it. Where will it all end?

  11. It is never going to end-the university is a business- they do not want anyone that really cares about education in positions of power anymore-they want CEO’s and people who have a business background.
    Education is not even on the table. Elwood Gee upped the number of VP’s and Provosts by 300 percent or more when he came to OSU, Inc. the 2nd time- just following the nationwide trend that makes what used to be a learning institution into a glorified vocational school. The humanities and not profitable departments (NOT STEM or Business or Health care related) are persona-non-grata and considered worthless. Everything that isn’t branded is in the process of being branded. You can have your name on a urinal if you willing to give money and claim naming rights. Friends from Europe couldn’t believe that the new ER at the new building at University Hospital (i refuse to call it the Wexner blah blah blah)-
    being name the A&F ER is a running joke to anyone that has a conscience. What do you get when you leave the ER -a free gift bag with a buff boy’s pic on it from Abercrombie & Fitch? It would be ridiculous if it were not so sad.

  12. Late to the response, but very relevant to me, as I have three children in college (one at Ohio State).

    Let’s start with this … The housing at Ohio State was the worst dorm housing we have encountered at almost any school. Our teenage son lived in an outdated cinder-block “quad” that was the size of two large walk-in closets. The meal plan was more expensive than anywhere else because of the “block” system. And the room & board were the same as, or more expensive, than the other two.

    Second point … Ohio State just passed a rule, which will now require both freshman AND sophomores to live in on-campus housing and dorms. In other words, they are voting to hike rates 6% per year, and then forcing students to live in their housing for an extra year (most non-freshman live in off-campus housing because it is less expensive, especially when it comes to buying food vs. “meal plans.”

    Final point … I feel OSU tuition is reasonable and, candidly, I have far less of a problem if OSU regularly increases tuition comparable to the cost of inflation (2-3% per year). But housing should NOT be a profit center for OSU … i.e., pricing should reflect the real estate market, and OSU should not exploit the fact that it can force students to be renters. OSU did not reduce its housing to reflect the drop in the real estate marketing in 2008-12, and housing in Ohio is not expected to appreciate 6% every year over the next ten years.

    This is a poorly thought out scheme to gauge students (or more likely, the parents) for extra cash or capital improvements.

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