Saturday, September 02, 2000

Ky. college fee increases called fair

Hikes range from 2.9% at Morehead to NKU's 11%

By Mark R. Chellgren
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — The first year of letting Kentucky universities set their own tuition and fee schedules did not produce the runaway higher education inflation some had feared.

        Mandatory fee increases ranged from 2.4 percent at Morehead State University, to 39 percent at Northern Kentucky University, which instituted a $2-per-credit-hour instruction-learning fee on all students. Total cost of tuition and fee increases ranged from 2.9 percent, also at Morehead, to NKU's 11 percent.

        “The institutions seem to have done it in what seems to be a very moderate and responsible way,” Council on Postsecondary Education President Gordon Davies told the council's finance committee.

        Tuition used to be set by the council and was uniform for the six regional universities, with a different level for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville. The regionals' tuition, still bunched, ranges from Morehead's $1,040 for a full-time undergraduate from Kentucky to a high of $1,086 at Murray.

        Mike Baker, vice president for administration and finance at NKU, said the tuition increase will raise $1.2 million a year in new revenue and higher fees will raise another $1.46 million annually.

        He said the fee increases will help improve offerings as technology and audio-visual aids. NKU has an initiative that would offer computer-assisted preparation for faculty and students, something NKU does not have readily available now. Kentucky residents at NKU will still pay $1,336 per semester in tuition.

        UK costs $1,555 for a resident undergraduate, while Louisville's tuition is $1,575.

        NKU's fees add another $270 per semester. UK's fees are the lowest at $168.

        Students at Kentucky community colleges pay $575 per semester for tuition and another $40 in fees.

        The universities are under seemingly conflicting demands. While they must remain competitive for students with their pricing, the council is also demanding the schools raise a certain percentage of their operating budgets from students.

        Universities have also been successful in raising money from private sources to match state research funds. Essentially all but one of the universities met their fund-raising needs to match the $110 million available in state matching funds in the 1998-2000 biennium.

        Enquirer reporter Jeff McKinney contributed to this story.


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