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MU expects $6M surplus

Trustees still consider raising tuition

By Emily Glaser
On February 1, 2013

Miami University officials are projecting that the institution will have a budget surplus of nearly $6 million when this fiscal year ends in June. The surplus is a result of greater enrollment, according to David Creamer, vice president for finance and business services.

"[The surplus] is a little larger this year because of the enrollment situation where the incoming class was larger than projected," Creamer said.

Michael Trivelli, treasurer of the Associated Student Government (ASG) believes recommendations from the Strategic Priorities Task Force could have also led to the surplus.

"Under the leadership of the administration and the guidance brought forth by the task force, every department has made cuts that are critical to make us a more sustainable university and enabled us to be more fiscally responsible than some of our peer schools," Trivelli said.

According to Creamer, when the fiscal year ends there is a discussion with the Board of Trustees to decide what to do with the excess money, though one option is accumulating the funds to use in more difficult budget years.

"We all too often get cuts in state support," Creamer said. "Accumulating surplus funds helps us be able to absorb those without dipping into other funds. We look at how we can use the money to provide the best benefit for the institution going forward."

Trivelli agreed that rolling funds over for more difficult fiscal years is a good idea.

"I think setting aside some money would be good and investing in academics is always a top priority, I mean that's why we're here," Trivelli said.

Despite the expected surplus, university officials and the Board of Trustees are still discussing a tuition increase, according to Creamer.

"The unfortunate part is that tuition increase is almost an annual thing, though the size of the increase is expected to be smaller than in past years," Creamer said. "The amount currently being contemplated is 2 percent for both resident and non-resident students."

According to Creamer, last year's tuition increase was 3.5 percent for Ohio resident students, and 3 percent for non-resident students.

In years past it has been as much as a 6 percent increase.

Currently, the state of Ohio prohibits a tuition increase of more than 3.5 percent per year, according to John Stefanski, student body president.

Stefanski said ASG is discussing the possibility of legislating a lock-in policy, which would keep tuition the same for students for every year they are enrolled at Miami.

"We want to make it easier for prospective students to predict what a Miami education is going to cost," Stefanski said. "We are starting to talk to people about the feasibility of a lock-in policy."

In addition to the potential tuition increase, beginning next January when the Armstrong Student Center opens, students will pay a fee of $125 each semester to help pay for the building, an agreement previously agreed upon between ASG and the university.

According to Creamer, the new dining halls and residence halls will not increase the cost of room and board.

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