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Friday, December 19, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 5/6/2014

OP-ED

At Ohio U., a new approach to college affordability

The Ohio Guarantee supports degree completion and ensures that families can budget for the true cost of a college education

BY RODERICK J. McDAVIS
McDavis McDavis
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As tuition rates and other college costs continue to fluctuate, many prospective students and their families across the nation struggle to afford higher education. Ohio University is aggressively developing a unique initiative, the Ohio Guarantee, which aims to address these concerns while supporting timely degree completion.

The university’s trustees adopted the guarantee last January; Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey approved it last month. The program will start with our freshman class of 2015-16.

The Ohio Guarantee is designed to provide more financial predictability to students and parents, maintain the value of financial aid, and offer an incentive for students to earn a degree in four years. A guaranteed tuition model is not a new concept in higher education, but our plan is unique.

It includes flat rates for housing, dining, and most academic course and technology fees, in addition to tuition. That helps families budget for all college costs.

Ohio University will set tuition and fee costs for each entering cohort of degree-seeking undergraduate students on the Athens campus. Total costs will remain the same throughout these students’ four years — or 12 consecutive semesters — of enrollment.

Scholarships and financial aid packages will hold their value. Because the cost of attending Ohio University will remain flat, the same percentage of these costs will be met by any renewable scholarship, assuming that scholarship criteria are maintained.

Students who enroll before the 2015-16 academic year will not be directly affected by the Ohio Guarantee, but students and families can rest assured that our commitment to college affordability is unwavering. We will continue to do all we can to protect the value of an Ohio University education for all students.

The guarantee will not affect tuition at Ohio University’s regional campuses. However, each student, regardless of the location of his or her initial enrollment, will be placed in a cohort determined by year of enrollment. Students who relocate to the Athens campus will fall under the fee structure aligned with their enrollment year.

The Ohio Guarantee is predictable and transparent. It secures the value of student financial aid and supports degree completion. Above all, it ensures that families can budget for the true cost of a college education.

In doing so, the plan supports the opportunity for every student to afford a top-quality, transformative education at Ohio University. For more information, visit ohio.edu/​guarantee.

Roderick J. McDavis is president of Ohio University.



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