Kent State’s tuition for incoming freshmen will increase about 3.5 percent and then will be frozen for four years.

Incoming freshmen will pay $5,566 a semester.

University trustees Wednesday approved the increase beginning with the fall semester.

The returning sophomore class will have no change in tuition. These students' tuition was set last year at $5,306 a semester for four years under the Tuition Guarantee Plan.

State law does not allow for in-state tuition increases unless they are implemented under a tuition guarantee plan, applying to incoming freshmen.

Undergraduate students not covered by either guarantee — students in their third year or higher at Kent State — will see their tuition rise 2 percent to $5,106 per semester beginning with the fall semester.

This is the first tuition increase for this group of students since fall 2014.

Kent State said in a news release that with potential increases in some state and federal financial aid programs, the new tuition rates would be "financially neutral for many undergraduate students."

In April, trustees at the University of Akron increased tuition for incoming freshmen by 1.5 percent, bringing the per-semester cost for full-time students at UA to $5,818.

UA also implemented a tuition guarantee program last year, locking in tuition for four years.

Also Wednesday, Kent State trustees approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the Kent State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP-KSU), the union that represents tenured and tenure-track faculty.

The new agreement calls for union salary increases of 2 percent retroactive to Aug. 19, 2018, and across-the-board increases of 2.5 percent in academic year 2019-20, and 2 percent in academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22. A merit pool contribution of 2 percent will be effective in the final year of the agreement.

During lengthy contract talks, the faculty union objected to the administration's proposal to implement a tiered wage system — as opposed to granting raises across the board.

Unions typically dislike tiered wages, saying they divide their membership and become difficult to remove from contracts once enacted.

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or