YOUNGSTOWN - Youngstown State University students likely will have to pay an additional $130 a semester beginning this fall.
The university's finance and facilities committee approved a 3.5 percent tuition increase on Tuesday. However, before taking effect, the full board of trustees must approve the measure. The board is expected to vote on it at its June 13 meeting.
Additionally, a transportation fee has been deferred for next year, but the parking fee will increase by $20 to $120.
University officials explained the additional money is needed to compensate for cuts in state funding, which has been reduced by more than $8 million in the past two years and it is expected to drop another $1.1 million during the next fiscal year.
Ron Cole, university communications director, said that YSU's tuition would remain the lowest among the state's public, comprehensive universities and that the $130 increase is expected to be the lowest dollar increase among all of the state's public, comprehensive universities.
Cole explained YSU's general fund budget consists of two major revenue sources, state funding and tuition. He said that 10 years ago, state funding made up 50 percent of YSU's general fund budget, but now the state funds only 25 percent.
With the increase, starting in the fall the cost per full-time student would be $3,856 per semester. Cole said tuition at all other public universities in the state are also expected to go up.
University officials said YSU has worked to balance its budget and curtail costs. For example, the early retirement incentive plan for staff and separation incentive plan for faculty will save $5 million, with more than 100 positions left vacant by people retiring. Also, employee pay has been frozen and employee health insurance contributions have increased.
Cole also noted that $3 million in reductions in operating expenses made this year will continue next year.