SGA questions need for tuition increase at NKU

Tuition has increased at Northern Kentucky University every year since 1987, and some members of the Student Government Association think school administrators should find other ways to balance the budget.

Trey Orndorff, vice president for academic affairs, said at the Nov. 17 SGA meeting he has a hard time believing that the consistent increases were solely the result of economic hard times.

“That (period) includes some of our most prosperous times in the ’90s,” he said.

Orndorff said that, rather than relying so heavily on revenue raised from students, administrators should cut spending and work harder to lobby for more state funding.

NKU receives less state money per full-time student than any other Kentucky university.

“Effective lobbying is what’s going to get us more state dollars,” Orndorff said.

The Board of Regents is expected to vote at its January meeting in favor of a $300-$400 per semester raise in tuition, effective for the 2004-2005 school year.

President James Votruba told SGA at its Nov. 10 meeting that as NKU’s enrollment rose, so did its budget, and tuition increases were necessary.

But some SGA members disagree, noting that the proposed increase, which would raise tuition between 8 percent to 11 percent, is significantly higher than the 1.4 percent growth in enrollment this year.

“Their argument that tuition must go up because enrollment has gone up is not a valid argument,” said Eric Fegan, SGA executive vice president and tuition committee chair.

SGA members are concerned that NKU could lose both current and prospective students as tutition rises relation to other Kentucky universities. NKU’s yearly tuition of $3,744 is third-highest among the eight state universities.

Orndorff said that administrators have created a “top-heavy institution,” with too much of the budget devoted to expenditures, like the university president’s salary, that do not directly benefit students.

Fegan said the tuition committee seeks input from students on budget recommendations, which he will present to SGA at its January retreat.