Student affairs proposes tuition advantage expansion

Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, proposed slashing tuition rates for regional students to the board of trustees’ Academic Quality and Student Success Committee on Thursday.

If approved, students from 13 additional counties would see their tuition rates drop by roughly $1,300 to match the Western Pennsylvania Advantage program rate.

Residents of Chautauqua, Forest, Clarion, Armstrong, Jefferson, Indiana, Greene and Fayette counties in Pennsylvania, and West Virginia’s Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties would all qualify.

Currently, regional area students pay $5,269.56 per semester, while Western Pennsylvania Advantage students pay $3,961.08.

“Basically, we have much to offer the students of western PA because their region does not have a university like YSU,” Fahey said.

Susan Davis, executive director of admissions, said state schools in Pennsylvania have increased their tuition, giving YSU another competitive advantage.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education increased tuition by 3 percent for its 14 universities this academic year.

“We are going to start recruiting more in those areas heavily,” Davis said. “We are working to encourage people to come from those areas.”

The plan would include a cost. The YSU Budget Office is predicting a $159,000 revenue decrease for next year. Currently, YSU brings in $167,000 per year through a $117.80 per hour surcharge from regional students. Under the proposal, this charge would be reduced to $8.76 per hour, resulting in the loss of revenue.

However, if an additional 19 full-time students enroll, the deficit would be offset.

“We hope to be able to recruit enough new students that the additional income pays for the discount we give them,” Fahey said.

Davis and the office of admissions hope to achieve this goal by the second year of the program.

Davis said the expressed interest has benefited students already, especially in Washington and Westmoreland counties.

“We offer a wide variety of academic programs that are attractive to those students,” Fahey said. “As we continue to develop the tech belt, the Pennsylvania and Ohio border will continue to blur.”

The board will vote to approve this resolution on Sept. 28.