Ohio University President Roderick McDavis’ May 6 op-ed column, “At Ohio U., a new approach to college affordability,” provided a misleading representation of the Ohio Guarantee.
Mr. McDavis argues that the university’s guaranteed tuition model is predictable and transparent. However, a closer examination reveals it to be anything but that.
If the program was transparent, Mr. McDavis should have mentioned that the Ohio Guarantee will require a one-time tuition increase of as much as 6 percent. This excessive tuition hike allows OU to lock in tuition for each group of students in an academic year, but the cost of attendance will still be roughly the same.
And if the state imposes a tuition freeze during the four years of a student’s academic career, students will be left out in the cold, because their tuition already will have been raised.
There is nothing predictable about a program that gives the university more power and latitude when it decides how much to raise costs.
The Ohio Guarantee is a threat to students who are already at risk of dropping out of college. These include students of color, first-generation students, and students of low socioeconomic status.
Guaranteed tuition programs have students pay a higher flat rate for the first two years, compared to a model that progressively raises tuition every year. Students who are forced to drop out or transfer in the first two years will be saddled with more debt than under a gradual tuition model.
The Ohio Guarantee is unpredictable and not transparent, and certainly not more affordable. The only thing that can really be guaranteed is a tuition hike.
Editor’s note: The writer is a 2014 graduate of Ohio University.
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