Increases in tuition at Bowling Green State University were approved by trustees, along with a $32 million budget drop due to coronavirus.

Trustees approved a 4.1% increase to in-state, undergraduate instructional and general fees for the third cohort of the BGSU Falcon Tuition Guarantee, which equates to an increase of $19.84 per credit hour.

The Falcon Tuition Guarantee means that tuition rates and fees are locked in for the next four years.

The Falcon Tuition Guarantee, first introduced in 2017, provides all undergraduate, first-time students and their families the certainty that their tuition and fees will not increase over the four academic years, in 12 consecutive semesters, at BGSU.

Students not covered by the Falcon Tuition Guarantee, including fourth and fifth-year students, as well as part-time, eCampus or distance and extended campus undergraduate students, will see a 2% increase to the in-state undergraduate instruction and general fee, an increase of $8.70 per credit hour.

The total per semester proposed increase for a full-time, in-state undergraduate at the Bowling Green campus would go from $5,401 in 2020 to $5,505 in 2021, an increase of $104.

The annual, incremental revenue to the Bowling Green campus to be generated by a 2% increase is $842,000.

The university did not increase the out-of-state student surcharges.

A $397 million budget for fiscal year 2021 was also approved by trustees. That is a $32 million drop for the 2020 budget of $429 million.

“That’s everything put together. That’s the bottom line,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “This includes all funds. The $29 million (in cuts) is more education in general — which is the largest component of this. That’s tuition, general fees and the state share of instruction.”

Rogers also explained the remaining $3 million in cuts.

“It’s all those auxiliaries. You know dining. If enrollment is down we tend not to have so many dining plans, for example. Depending on enrollment, we won’t have as many students in housing. So the auxiliaries are impacted by changes in enrollment,” Rogers said.

During the budget presentation, Vice President for Finance and Administration Sherideen Stoll said that there is an assumption of a 5% freshman enrollment decline and a 7% enrollment decline in all other categories.

Rogers also addressed a Faculty Association union presentation last week by Howard Bunsis, Ph.D. Bunsis, who said he is an expert in university budget analysis, said that the university has $164 million in unrestricted reserves to cover revenue losses.

He referred to it as a fund to facilitate cash flow, and explained why the university considers it important to have.

“Just like each of us, in our own savings account, has a cushion. The savings are there in case there is a major change, a loss of a job, a loss revenue to the family unit,” Rogers said.

“Bunsis is a professor up at Eastern Michigan, an accounting professor. He is very active in the American Association of University Professors and does a similar presentation across the country in terms of his analysis. I appreciate his point of view and I understand his point of view. For us, with the size of payroll the institution has, and all the obligations we have in terms of fixed payments we make, debt we have to service, interest payments we have to make, people we have to pay, retirement plans we have to pay — when you think of all of those fixed costs, it’s always important to have a cushion, that if something dramatic were to happen we could still make payroll.”

The trustees on Friday also approved an additional $4.8 million funds to replace the Ridge Street utility and sidewalk. The board had previously approved $561,552 for the infrastructure project.

“It’s one of those projects that you can’t actually see,” Stoll said.

The capital improvement project will include infrastructure repairs, including tunnel top and wall repairs; repairing or replacing interior piping supports and lighting; and connecting the three existing central cooling plants via buried chilled water and adding the Building Automation System infrastructure to improving waterflow and operating efficiencies.