Apr 2, 2014
By Bethany Venable
The chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents has approved Ohio University’s new tuition guarantee program – named The OHIO Guarantee – setting in motion plans for a new transparent and predictable tuition structure to begin effective with the 2015-16 academic year. The proposal was adopted by the Ohio University Board of Trustees at their January meeting and presented to Chancellor John Carey for final approval.
The OHIO Guarantee program is the culmination of several months of work by representatives of the University community to design a comprehensive cohort-based, level-rate tuition, housing, dining and most academic course and technology fees. The program intends to assure a student and their family a set of comprehensive rates that will remain in place over 12 continuous semesters, or four years.
A website detailing the fees included and answering questions students and their families may have about the program is available by visiting http://www.ohio.edu/guarantee. Here are some introductory points about The OHIO Guarantee:
Who is included?
The OHIO Guarantee will begin with every new degree-seeking first-year or transfer undergraduate (baccalaureate or associate) student enrolled in fall semester 2015 or spring semester 2016. The program applies to these students regardless of campus of admission or enrollment for classes taken at the Athens Campus. Ohio University’s regional campuses do not follow the OHIO Guarantee model.
Continuing students, those who were enrolled prior to summer 2014-15, will NOT be included in The OHIO Guarantee and will continue to follow the traditional incremental tuition model governed by the legislative cap and annually adopted by the Ohio Board of Trustees.
Non-degree students, such as those seeking Post-Secondary Enrollment Option classes, will NOT be included in the OHIO Guarantee.
How does the cohort structure work?
The Board of Trustees will establish a new level-rate structure each year. That level-rate will apply to the new cohort, or group of students, that enrolls for the first time during the following academic year. Students’ cohorts will be assigned based on their first semester of enrollment (fall or spring, excluding summer). First year students will pay a fixed rate, which will remain in effect for four years. Students in certain academic programs will pay additional course fees but these will also be set four years in advance.
Students in The OHIO Guarantee will be subject to a level housing rate that represents the various housing options available. Also, students in The OHIO Guarantee will be subject to a level meal plan rate based upon the type of meal plan selected.
For example, if a student’s first semester of enrollment is fall 2015, his or her rate would be the Cohort 2015 rate and would be effective for the next 12 continuous semesters, or four years.
An academic year is made up of three semesters, beginning with fall semester and ending with summer.
If a student’s first semester of enrollment is summer 2015, they will pay the Cohort 2015 rate for that semester and then begin paying their Cohort 2016 rate beginning that following fall semester. This set up allows students to start earlier at a lower rate and then be part of a guaranteed cohort.
If a student begins their OHIO experience at a regional campus and then transfers to the Athens Campus, they will be placed in the cohort that aligns with the year they began at OHIO. If a student takes classes at both a regional campus and the Athens Campus, they will pay tuition for their Athens Campus classes according to the cohort that began when the student enrolled at Ohio University and will follow the annual Regional Campus cost for classes taken at a regional campus.
What if it takes longer than 12 continuous semesters (four years) to graduate?
A select number of OHIO programs have been identified to the Ohio Board of Regents as requiring more than 120 hours to complete. Students in these programs will automatically receive an additional semester of The Guarantee (meaning they have 13 semesters to complete the degree). However, if a student requires more than 12 continuous semesters/four years to graduate and is not in one of the identified programs, students will pay the tuition rate assigned to the cohort that went into effect the year after your initial cohort. This rate will be in place for the next three terms or one year. This allows a student as early as their sophomore year to know what their rate will be if they stay longer than 4 years.
For example, a student in Cohort 2016 who does not complete a degree in four years will begin paying the Cohort 2017 rate beginning with the 13th semester of enrollment. If the student still has not completed the degree by the end of the 16th semester of enrollment, he or she will begin paying the Cohort 2018 rate and so on until the student is no longer enrolled.
Are there any exceptions?
Ohio University recognizes that there may be situations beyond a student’s control which affect the ability to complete a degree within four years. Extensions necessary due to military or reserve duty will be automatically granted. Additional exceptions may include:
The OHIO Guarantee is designed to ensure students and parents can count on a consistent cost of higher education during their time at Ohio University. The program encourages early degree completion and eliminates the guesswork of financing a college education. For additional details and a listing of Frequently Asked Questions, visit http://www.ohio.edu/guarantee/faq.cfm.
What’s in a name?
The program’s name, The OHIO Guarantee, serves as a reminder that a stable, predictable rate of tuition is a guarantee Ohio University makes to each person invested in an OHIO student’s education – both the student themselves and their parents or guardians. By providing an educational experience free of financial guesswork, The OHIO Guarantee empowers students and parents to make important decisions without the uncertainties a traditional tuition structure can bring.
If The OHIO Guarantee symbol looks familiar, it may be because the outside shape mimics that of the official seal of Ohio University. Created by University Communications and Marketing Senior Director of Creative Services Mark Krumel, this design reflects the importance of The OHIO Guarantee as it relates to the entire institution.
The icons that make up the center of the symbol are representative of the path each student takes during their time at Ohio University and beyond: moving through life in school and after, they develop wisdom built on the foundation of their education.
Beginning in the lower left hand corner, the book represents knowledge and the learning accomplished at OHIO. Above that, a mortar board, the ceremonial hat worn during commencement exercises, represents graduation as the culmination of the student’s time at OHIO. In the lower right hand corner, a curved starburst, unique in its abstract shape, represents the horizon of the bright future ahead of each Bobcat.