Ohio University Board of Trustees Addresses Financial Cliff

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The Ohio University Board of Trustees are discussing new approaches to take on an anticipated budget gap as a result of the Fiscal Cliff.

The trustees heard proposals on two new tuition models during their morning joint committee meeting Thursday.

According to the presentation, the university's subsidy funding from the state has decreased from 43 percent to 27 percent since 2001.

Tuition funding for Ohio University has increased from 48 percent to 88 percent, with a tuition increase on average of 3 percent each year.

Pam Benoit, executive vice president and provost, presented two ways to approach tuition changes to the board: Differential Tuition and Guaranteed Tuition.

Benoit says Differential Tuition would vary tuition based on major, program, college or class standing.

Benefits include providing new services and majors, addressing program costs and responding to market demand for new degrees, said Benoit.

The concerns of the Differential Tuition are that students may chose a major on cost, the financial impact it could have on students and families and how it relates to value of the education.

Differential Tuition has been used in 143 public academic institutions across the nation, one of them being Miami University.

Benoit says Guaranteed Tuition will institute a fee that would stay the same for all four years.

She says the benefits of the Guaranteed Tuition are predictability, immunity from tuition increase, and the incentive to graduate in four years.

The concerns include that the initial tuition price will be set higher than it is needed to be and keeping revenue costs higher than normal, said Benoit.

Another problem Benoit says Guaranteed Tuition faces is that if it is not approached directly, it can go wrong and the school may have to abandon that tactic.

Benoit says under the Guaranteed Tuition model, fifth year students would enter another cohort and their tuition would increase, however, majors that cannot be completed by the four year mark will be exempt from the fifth year tuition increase.

The Board of Trustees will continue discussing ways to cope with the Fiscal Cliff in afternoon discussions, which are slated to focus on new streams of revenue.