With the expansion of the OHIO Guarantee to Ohio University’s five regional campuses, tuition on the campuses could be less than $22,000 total for four years.
University officials hope to apply the OHIO Guarantee to the campuses starting in the 2018-19 academic year. It is an effort to equalize tuition rates across the regional campuses and maintain the value of scholarships.
“Between 2007 and this year, we’ve had five years with no (tuition) increases and our overall average increase ... has been about 5 percent, so less than one percent a year,” Executive Dean of Regional Higher Education Bill Willan said.
The national average of tuition increased 13 percent total between 2010 and 2015.
With the extended program, there would be about a 3 percent increase in tuition costs for regional campuses. That increase would make tuition rates the same across all five OU regional campuses.
As a result of recent state budget cuts to higher education, the zero percent cap on increasing tuition has driven regional campuses to increase tuition rates through the OHIO Guarantee.
“With great cooperation from folks in the registrar's office and financial aid, the bursar's office and enrollment in general, we were able to start moving this through,” Willan said.
The guarantee would help maintain the value of financial aid, OU Board of Trustees Chair Janetta King said at the January board meeting. That would include maintaining the value of scholarships.
When a student is awarded a four-year scholarship, it generally covers a certain percent of expenses; if tuition rises, however, it covers less of that percentage.
“By making the tuition steady through the years, that scholarship will continue to cover the same percentage of your expense," Willan said. "So it’s easy to plan with a guaranteed tuition model.”
Essentially, the guarantee will help the campuses keep the value of their dollars over the years.
“The important point here is that it places us in a very affordable position with a knowledge that a proper budgeting at the start means you can really plan for paying for an Ohio University degree in a very orderly manner,” Willan said. “You know exactly what’s facing you and how you have to approach it to pay it off, so it’s just beneficial for students and for the campuses.”
Willan met with an academic leadership group about the extension of the OHIO Guarantee.
“Bill does a great job of keeping us informed about what’s going on,” Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin said. “(The academic leadership group), I believe, involves our faculty senators from the regional campuses.”
Although the guarantee for regional campuses has been approved by the Board of Trustees, the state has yet to approve the plan.
“The OHIO Guarantee for the regional campuses has not yet been approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, nor have the new tuition rates been determined,” Willan said in an email. “Until those are settled, it is impossible to specify the precise impact of this change on the budget.”