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Friday, March 24, 2017

Higher tuition in the works for next year

Board of Trustees is discussing potential increases in tuition for 2012-2013 semesters

Another tuition increase may be in store for Otterbein.

At the most recent Summit meeting, a possible 2-3.5 percent projected increase in tuition cost was discussed. Currently, the tuition for a full-time student is $29,550. If tuition is increased, the new amount would be about $30,000-30,500.

Vice President of Business Affairs Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings said that with the higher tuition, they will be able to advance programs such as the Five Cardinal Experiences, as well as increase scholarship opportunities. She also said she hopes to reallocate funds from lower priorities to higher priorities.


Jefferson Blackburn-Smith, the vice president for enrollment management, said in an email interview that the extra money would cover financial aid. Blackburn, who took office one month ago, said that any decision to increase tuition is not taken lightly, and that the institution’s goal is to provide an “excellent education value for its cost.”

In an email interview, President Kathy Krendl said that the administration will also consider opportunities to reallocate current resources toward “student-centered priorities and … investments in faculty and staff.”

The increase was suggested to help with budget planning and visualizing different financial scenarios. Vazquez-Skillings said that while the tuition increase numbers are subject to change, the committee was not comfortable suggesting a hike higher than 3.5 percent.

“Part of the scenario building is just trying to get a sense of what the impact would be,” Vazquez-Skillings said. “We wanted to make sure that we were sensitive to our market; we want to remain affordable.”

She said that the committee did not want to lose any potential students due to a tuition increase that was too substantial.

Over the past five years, tuition has increased by 4-5 percent each year. That is about $1,000 a year and a total of $4,500 from 2008-2012.

Denison University, another private institution, has also been experiencing a growth in tuition, averaging an increase of $2,000-3,000 per year.

With enrollment numbers down approximately 100 students from the previous academic year, some students are concerned about future enrollment

“If they raise it again, it might become a problem for getting students to come (to Otterbein),” said Hannah Benson, a freshman history major.

Blackburn-Smith said that generally speaking, an increase in tuition would not discourage students from enrolling.

He said in an email interview, “Otterbein’s unique combination of a nationally recognized curricular model, its emphasis on experiential learning, its extensive merit scholarship and financial aid programs, its caring, tight-knit, inclusive community … all make Otterbein an excellent educational value.”

He also said that he is expecting enrollment to go up for the 2012-2013 year.

“I feel that the university already gets enough money,” said Brianne Buletko, a sophomore psychology and religion double major. “I’m all for it, but I’m in charge of paying it off, and that makes it harder on me.”

Krendl said that the Board of Trustees will vote to set tuition later on in the spring, as there is more to be discussed.

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