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University of Toledo offers four-year tuition guarantee

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University of Toledo students who begin their first semester in the fall of 2018 or later will have a locked-in tuition rate for four years.

UT trustees on Monday approved a tuition guarantee plan, joining 10 other public universities in Ohio — including neighboring Bowling Green State University — that have adopted similar practices.

UT’s plan will freeze tuition and general fees as well as set guaranteed prices for housing and meal plans for undergraduate students. Students who need more than four years to complete their degree can apply for extensions of the locked-in prices.

“The tuition guarantee plan that we’re offering is just another feather in the cap in terms of affordability for our students,” board chairman Steven Cavanaugh said. “I think we’ve been a very cost-effective university with great value for the tuition that we’re charging. We’re now going to offer students and their parents certainty around your cost of education.”

The plan applies to all new, degree-seeking undergraduate students, with the first cohort beginning in the fall semester of 2018. Students can be enrolled full or part-time.

Pricing for the initial cohort under UT’s plan includes an instructional fee of $4,267 per semester and a general fee of about $631. That’s about a 6 percent increase from the university’s current tuition structure. Locked-in, per-semester housing rates range from $5,102 to $2,984, depending on students’ residence-hall selections.

Charges not capped in the plan include the surcharge for out-of-state students, parking permit fees, and fees for course materials and textbooks.

Trustees may adjust tuition rates for subsequent cohorts, said Larry Kelley, UT’s chief financial officer. State law enacted in 2013 allows public universities to raise tuition for each incoming class, so long as the amount is guaranteed for four years.

Undergraduate students already enrolled at UT will not qualify for the tuition guarantee plan. 

UT President Sharon Gaber said enacting a tuition guarantee plan has been in the works for months. She said it will help the university, students, and parents alike in setting their budgets.

“People like transparency and the understanding of, ‘What can I be assured of?’ And having this fixed price helps parents,” she said. “I think that’s why a lot of schools are looking into it at this point. We certainly don’t want to be behind the trend.”

Mr. Kelley said UT’s program gives students incentive to complete their degrees in four years because of the guaranteed rate. 

Students who complete their undergraduate degree by the end of their tuition guarantee period also are eligible to receive a $500 scholarship toward graduate education at UT, provided they enroll in a graduate program at UT no more than three semesters — excluding summer — after completing their bachelor’s degrees.

While Bowling Green State University approved its four-year tuition plan — dubbed the Falcon Tuition Guarantee Plan — on Dec. 8, trustees have not yet set tuition rates. Those numbers likely will be set during the trustees’ budget meeting in the spring or summer.

Contact Sarah Elms at selms@theblade.com419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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