Kent State University notified students on Thursday that its billing for the upcoming fall semester would be delayed because of the pending state budget, but not all state universities have been similarly affected.
“Kent State tuition rates and Ohio financial aid grants must be authorized in the state budget, so the university is not able to generate e-bills at this time,” the university said in a press release. “More information on the date of e-bill distribution and the extension in the payment due date will be shared with students next week. The university is taking steps to minimize any negative impact this delay may cause students and their families.”
Legislators failed to come to a consensus on the new biennium budget by the June 30 deadline, instead passing a temporary budget to fund the state — including its 14 public universities, their 24 regional campuses and 23 community colleges — through July 17.
Representatives from the University of Akron and the Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown said their billing is on schedule.
The difference in billing delays among universities is due, in part, to tuition increases and the state’s tuition guarantee program for undergraduates, said Jeff Robinson, director of communications for the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
“In the Ohio Revised Code, there is a percentage increase that is in the law that is the average rate of inflation, and then another percentage increase that is contingent on the passage of the budget,” Robinson said.
The University of Akron raised its tuition this year by 1.5 percent, which is the average rate of inflation. Because its increase is within the permanent law, it was not affected by the pending budget, Robinson said. Kent State, however, raised its tuition by 3.5 percent for the incoming freshman class. The 2 percent increase on top of the 1.5 percent allowed is contingent on the passage of the new budget.
NEOMED would not be affected, because it is not an undergraduate school.
“Since our university only offers graduate and professional degree programs, there are no restrictions that prohibit us from sending out the student invoices due to the holding pattern on the state budget. The Ohio General Assembly only caps undergraduate tuition,” NEOMED spokesman Roderick L. Ingram Sr. said.
Kent State normally would have distributed bills on July 16. University spokeswoman Emily Vincent said that the extension date has not yet been set because it's dependent on the finalization of the budget.
“Kent State is not alone in this situation regarding the state budget. We have great respect for [the] complexities of the legislative process, and will only move forward with expressed approval from the State,” Vincent said.
Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KristaKanoRCedu.