Trustees implement transportation fee, raise tuition, global funds

On Tuesday afternoon, Youngstown State University’s Board of Trustees voted for changes that will raise tuition costs, require mandatory parking fees and reallocate a majority of the university’s resources.

The university trustees approved the fiscal year 2014 operating budget submitted by the Budget Development council. The decision will raise undergraduate tuition by 2.4 percent and graduate tuition by 3 percent.

YSU’s tuition still remains $1,629 below the state average, despite the increase in costs. The approved budget also manages YSU’s resources more efficiently by eliminating 19 staff vacancies. The board also voted to improve residing parking issues on campus.

YSU students enrolled for six or more hours will now be required to pay $115 in transportation fees for upcoming fall and spring; $58 for summer semesters. Students registered for five credit hours or less, have the option to pay the fee if necessary.

Raising the price gives the university sufficient reserves for lot and deck replacements as well as maintenance. The fee was inspired by a similar model the University of Akron currently uses.

The only other options considered by Dan O’Connell, YSU director of parking services, was to raise the parking fee to $175, resulting in a $55 hike from the current fee.

John Hyden, executive director of university facilities, said he believes that while some may be upset about the mandatory passes “this will make [transportation] a lot easier for the next generation of students.”

Approximately 90 percent of YSU students will pay the fee.

In the past two years, the university has added over 300 parking spaces for students and plan to add 180 spaces in a gravel lot next to the new softball fields.

The decision was made based on the projected amount of cars parked in streets surrounding campus.

Three years ago, the M2 parking deck required major renovations and was facing demolition.

University officials opted to renovate the lot, instead of losing nearly half of its parking space. YSU now needs $4.5 million to fix the lot. The transportation fees will specifically provide funding for M2 and better parking resolutions for campus.

Catie Carney, president of YSU Student Government Association, said SGA supports the Board’s decision.

“Even if you don’t have a car on campus, you’ll be able to use shuttle services,” Carney said. “It’s going to positively affect students.”

The board approved the FY2014 budget and new transportation fees unanimously, without the supporting vote of Trustee Harry Meshel.

Collectively, the Board of Trustees approved of Hartland & Co., YSU’s private investing consultants, proposal to allocate funds oversees.

Hartland & Co. discussed a previous recommendation that would diversify the management of YSU’s fixed income pool into Global Fixed Income. The move would give YSU ‘s portfolio a chance to maintain credit quality, improve the annual yield, lowers fees and improves diversification.

Trustees agreed with a unanimous vote to reallocate $1.5 million from the intermediate-term fixed income funds to the DFA Five-Year Global Fund. The fixed income returns have outpaced domestic fixed income.

Michael Shebak, senior managing director of Hartland & Co, suggested using Global Fixed-Income because 75 percent of the fixed income universe is located outside of the U.S. and accumulates to be over $28 trillion.

Sarah Parker, a consultant at Hartland & Co, said YSU has “historically low” interest rates, and sending money into the global pool would increase the university’s yield, or income return on investments.

Melissa Wasser, YSU’s student trustee, voted for all but one motion Tuesday. Wasser said the meeting was “much more successful” than the board’s previous meeting.

“I think the decisions will be good for students,” she said.