By Spencer Curcillo
The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees approved a $125 per credit hour increase in a surcharge for nonresident students, effective this semester.
Students who are not legal residents of Ohio are required to pay a surcharge on top of the instructional, general and information services fee the university charges.
This increase equates to a $1,500 per semester increase for nonregional students who are within the bulk-rate 12-16 credit hours.
Neal McNally, YSU’s Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, explained the reason behind this decision.
“This increase was recommended by the Dean’s Council as a way to reflect the quality of our graduate programs and to bring us in line with the nonresident graduate rates charged at other public universities in Ohio,” McNally said.
The increase will raise the cost of attendance for out-of-state students, but YSU still remains one of the lowest in tuition prices compared to other colleges in Ohio.
Under the current pricing, nonregional, full-time graduate students pay $13,775 per year, and with the increase, will pay $16,775. Students at universities such as Cleveland State University or Kent State University pay an annual rate of $25,515 and $17,960 respectively.
When compared to some larger universities, the gap is even greater. Nonregional, full-time graduate students at Miami University pay $28,312 annually. At The Ohio State University, that number balloons to $30,089.
McNally said he prefers not to think of the fees paid by nonregional graduate students as increased charges on the part of YSU, but rather a result of a larger system.
“The state of Ohio requires us to levy a surcharge on any student from outside the state. … So, in essence, we aren’t charging the non-regional students more, rather we’re charging the regional students less,” McNally said.
McNally recognizes the difficulty presented by the increase.
“This increase represents the second phase of a two-year phase-in of the nonresident surcharge,” he said. “This phased-in approach underscores our sensitivity to individual student circumstances.”
Students aware of the tuition increase expressed concern for those nonresidents who are affected by the increase. Kevin Scales, a YSU graduate student from Atlanta, Georgia, said that he is aware of the struggles faced by his peers.
“I feel very fortunate [to have my graduate assistantship] because I have friends who are paying for this,” Scales said. “They are in the same program and are paying out of pocket. I can only imagine how expensive it is. I feel like YSU would lose its competitive edge in getting students because part of the bargaining factor is the cost.”
The increase is expected to provide some financial relief for the university. It will generate additional gross revenue between $275,000 and $300,000 per year.