Tuition hike slated for Fall 2002

A tuition increase will be imposed on the students of Northern Kentucky University beginning in the Fall 2002 academic year, but it won’t be near the 9.5 percent increase projected at the September Board of Regents meeting.

Figures sent to the state at that time by top administrators at NKU estimated the increase between 5.5 and 9.5 percent, depending on how much benchmark funding would be appropriated by the state.

An announcement was made last week by Ky. Governor Paul Patton and the president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, Gordon Davies,indicating universities would continue to receive benchmark funding for the next four years.

According to Dr. Robin Crigler, executive assistant to the president at NKU, while the tuition won’t go up as much as expected, there will still be an increase.

Benchmark funding was introduced to Ky. universities in 2000 after the passage of House Bill 1, which gave Ky. universities additional funding above what they were already receiving based on other universities in the country that were of similar demographics.

“It was a tool for funding change,” said Gerald Hunter, associate vice president for financial planning and institutional research, “to move institutions into the realm of others in the nation who functioned at a level Ky. wanted to aspire to.”

Questions regarding whether benchmark funding would be available this year were raised due to budget problems being experienced by the state. According to NKU president James C. Votruba, benchmark funding would be withheld because the state has about a half-billion dollar short fall in their revenue projections. It was even possible the state could take money back from the universities, because they couldn’t make their numbers, Votruba said.

Crigler said in the announcement made on Oct. 23 Patton and Davies will not put higher education in general on the budget cut table.

Crigler said Ky. has been so far behind for so long that it is not acceptable to cut higher education in anyway.

“The council has asked us to put together the tightest budget that we possibly can based on base funding, not excluding our benchmark, where we can cut, where can we make choices, ” Crigler said.

Tuition costs go up every year but usually only one or two percent to account for inflation. Crigler said fixed costs that will increase, such as energy, maintenance, cost of living increases and remodeling will account for a higher increase.

Current tuition rates per semester for undergraduates at NKU are: $1,230 for full time in-state students, $103 per credit hour for part time in-state students, $3,354 for full time out-of-state students and $280 per credit hour for part time out-of-state students.

With a 5.5 percent increase, rates would be: $1,346 for full time in-state, $113 per credit hour for part time in-state, $3,672 for full time out-of-state, and $307 per credit hour for part time out-of-state students (figures are rounded to the nearest dollar).

Final decisions on funding and tuition will be made after the 2002 legislative session. “The session starts in January and ends in March with all the final decisions being made around April 15,” said Crigler.

Votruba said those decisions will be made public as soon as possible. “This is a working campus,” Votruba said, “and they [the students] need to know what their bills are going to be.”