Tuition forum will give voice to students

The Student Government Association will hold an informational forum today at noon in Otto Budig Theater to discuss the possibility of a mid-semester tuition increase at Northern Kentucky University.

The forum is meant to inform students about the budget shortfalls leading to the possible tuition increase, and to increase student involvement in campus issues.

SGA began to plan the forum after Gov. Ernie Fletcher ordered higher education cuts, which raised concerns about a possible tuition hike. Fletcher cut Northern Kentucky University’s budget by $4 million in the past two months, which could raise the tuition by as much as 20 percent.

“We want to give students the opportunity to tell us what’s on their minds, especially since tuition has already increased by about 26 percent over the past two years,” said Eric Fegan, SGA executive vice president and tuition committee chair.

The forum will be an open dialogue, and Fegan said SGA is hoping for a strong student turnout. The forum was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. today but was moved to noon to better accommodate students’ schedules.

Since the tuition increases affect everyone, he said that SGA is relying on student attendance, and will offer free pizza as an incentive to come.

Students are encouraged to ask questions and give their opinions. Although consequences from the cuts cannot be avoided, student input does influence the decisions that will be made.

Discussion on the tuition increase was pushed back from the Jan. 21 Board of Regents meeting, but Fegan said the increase may be discussed at the March Board of Regents meeting, or at a special meeting that could be called on any date.

“We can’t give all the answers, but we can find them and get back to the students,” Fegan said.

He added that although this kind of forum has not been done before at NKU, it is part of SGA’s role as the liaison between the students and administration.

SGA will take student feedback into consideration when making its final vote on tuition recommendations during the weekend retreat to Blue Lick Battlefield State Park in Carlisle, Ky. on Jan. 16, 17 and 18.