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Ohio State's tuition, fee increases worry prospective students, but doesn't deter interest

The Ohio State University

On Friday, The Ohio State University's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a 3% increase in tuition and increases to other fees, meaning there will be higher costs for incoming freshman.

Matthias Geyer is a high school senior from Montgomery, near Cincinnati, and toured the campus with his parents during OSU's Summer Buckeye Preview for prospective students. Geyer said OSU is his top choice, but he is also considering Indiana University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Geyer said he wants to study chemistry to go into pharmaceutical research if he comes to Ohio State. He said the cost of going to college is going to be a factor for him, but it could be paid for if he enlists in the military.

"I'm planning on enlisting in the military which would pay for it, but if that doesn't work out, then it really kind of is significant, just because college is so expensive, and especially when you pay for out-of-state tuition, it's just so wildly expensive," Geyer said.

Matthias' father, Mike Geyer, agreed and said OSU is expensive already, even with the cost of room and board.

"(Room and board) almost doubles the price for the yearly fees and everything like that. So a 3% increase is huge," Mike Geyer said.

The trustees approved a 3% increase in tuition for incoming students who are Ohio residents, which brings in-state tuition to $12,859 per academic year. Out-of-state tuition would increase to $38,365 per year. Room and board fees will also increase by 3% for incoming students.

The recently passed state budget capped Ohio public college and university tuition increases at 3%.

OSU blames inflation and flat state funding for the need to raise tuition. Because of The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee, which began in the fall of 2017, in-state students who are currently enrolled will not see a tuition or room and board increase.

Myles Hakeem and his mother, LeMonica Hakeem, were also visiting OSU from Atlanta on Friday. Myles Hakeem said OSU is one of the top two colleges he is considering and he plans to study aerospace engineering.

LeMonica Hakeem said the Board of Trustees should have considered leaving tuition and fees flat because of the state of the economy, inflation and other increasing costs that are impacting families looking to send their children to college. The board also approved a 5.2% increase for students paying out-of-state tuition, which is a total of $1,269.

Myles Hakeem said he is looking into a lot of scholarship opportunities to try and reduce the cost burden of college on he and his family. He is about to enter his senior year at Woodward Academy in College Park near Atlanta.

He is also considering attending colleges in Alabama and Arizona after he graduates from high school.

Abbie Black, and her mother Carolyn Black, also visited OSU from North Royalton, near Cleveland, on Friday. Abbie said she doesn't want to go to community college, but also doesn't want to pick a school that asks for $50,000 a year in tuition and fees.

Black, who is currently a high school junior, said a $374 per year increase isn't too big a deal for her, and wouldn't deter her from applying to OSU.

Geyer, Black and Hakeem said the tuition increases aren't discouraging them from considering OSU, while looking for colleges.

"Overall it looks like a really nice place to go to college. They've got a lot of good choices for academic stuff, which is what I'm really interested in, but it's also a really nice place to be," Geyer said.

The board is set to meet again in mid-August.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.