Refined ‘Guaranteed Tuition Program’ Presented To OU Board Of Trustees

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A refined version of the “Guaranteed Tuition Program” was presented at Ohio University’s quarterly board of trustees meeting Thursday.

The program will lock in a student’s tuition rate for 12 sequential semesters. Undergraduate tuition, general fees, non-resident surcharge and most course fees are included in the guarantee program, which will start in the fall semester in 2015.

Orientation fees, SIS and network fees and graduation application fees are also included.

Entering in-state and out-of-state, full-time undergraduate students are eligible for the guarantee. Graduate level tuition, study abroad, eLearning, regional campus tuition and independence and distance learning tuition are not included.

The details of how this guarantee will impact transfer students is still being worked out, according to Ohio University Provost Pam Benoit.

“This is not a ‘gotcha’ program,” Ohio University president Roderick J. McDavis said to the trustees Thursday. “We hope it’s a transparent program. If there are circumstances that come into play that we don’t cover today…the sense is not that ‘we got you, you have to pay more.’ 

“We want to try to assist…this is really to help students and their families. This is the best option we can find.”

The four-year program can be extended for programs that demand more than 120 credit hours to graduate. Seventy-seven programs require more than 120 hours, but 35 of those require only one extra class, according to Benoit.

The committee, which includes more than 20 members of the university, is still working on how to handle students who change majors to a program with a different credit hour requirement.

The guarantee can also be extended for military service, disability and medical reasons, or in programs with a required internship or co-op program.

High school students who enter college at Ohio University with credits already earned still receive the 12 semester guarantee.

There will be an appeals process to apply for extensions to the guarantee.

A contingency plan exists if the student’s four-year guarantee expires and an extension is not agreed upon. 

If a student enters school in fall 2015 and does not graduate in four years or get an extension, the student’s fifth-year tuition will be the same as the first-year tuition for a student entering school in fall 2016. 

Students’ room and board is also covered by the guarantee, with a few provisions. If a student requests a single dorm room his freshman year, he’s only guaranteed that the single dorm room rate will stay the same for the following year. Students switching from single to double or double to triple, for example, are not guaranteed the rates will stay the same year-to-year.

The same can be said about the meal programs at the university. If a student wants a flex plan his first year, he’s guaranteed that the flex plan price will stay the same for the following year. The guarantee does not apply if the student chooses to change his meal plan after the fall semester begins.

The committee will examine whether to extend room and board guarantees to more than just the two years students are required to live in on-campus residence halls, according to Benoit.