OHIO Guarantee+ Fixed Tuition and Fees Principles

February 10, 2014 | Updated January 10, 2020

The OHIO Guarantee is a cohort based, level‐rate tuition, housing, dining, and fee model that assures a student and their family a set of comprehensive rates for the pursuit of an undergraduate degree at Ohio University within the parameters outlined in this document. A student’s tuition, housing, dining, and fee rate is established based on first enrollment and remains “level” or unchanged, for 4 years (12 consecutive semesters).


These Principles, along with the Ohio University Board of Trustees approved rates, will be published on The OHIO Guarantee website, which will be linked from Ohio University Bursar, Undergraduate Admissions and other student service websites as appropriate.

Definition of Students Included in the OHIO Guarantee

Beginning with the 2015‐16 academic year (fall semester 2015 or spring semester 2016), every new degree‐seeking first‐year or transfer undergraduate (baccalaureate and associate) student, regardless of campus of admission or enrollment, will be part of The OHIO Guarantee at Ohio University.

The student’s OHIO Guarantee cohort is established based on the first semester of enrollment (fall or spring semester, excluding summer semester) at Ohio University. Students whose first enrollment is summer semester will join the subsequent level‐rate cohort in effect for their next fall or spring semester of enrollment following the initial summer semester.

Each year, a new level‐rate structure will be established by the Ohio University Board of Trustees to be effective for the new cohort that enrolls for the first time during the academic year.

Additional details regarding the establishment of the student’s cohort:

Establishment of the Cohort Group

Any student who is registered for classes as of the day after the Friday of the second week of the semester is considered “enrolled” for that semester, or the equivalent date for classes that do not meet the full semester. The first semester of enrollment establishes the level‐tuition cohort as outlined above. This establishment date is intentionally the same as the “no‐refund” date – the date after which students are charged 100% tuition and fees for the semester regardless of classes dropped on this date or thereafter; the official transcript includes all classes enrolled as of this date. For flexible schedule classes, the published “no‐refund”date is the rate cohort establishment date.

Summer Start Students

Students whose first semester is summer semester will pay the current summer rate, but will be treated as part of the entering subsequent fall class and assigned the same level‐rate cohort as students who start in the fall. For example, students starting summer semester 2020 will pay the cohort 2019 rate for that summer, and then will subsequently be moved to the new cohort 2020 with the additional 4 years (12 consecutive semesters) at the OHIO Guarantee rate.

Relocating Students from Ohio University Regional Campuses

OHIO Guarantee rates for students who enroll at a regional campus and then register for Athens classes in a subsequent semester (“Relocating Students”) are established based on their initial enrollment at Ohio University.

Individually Enrolled Athens and Regional Campus Students

In addition to fully relocated students, some regional campus students take classes both at a regional campus and at the Athens campus of Ohio University. As all new students at any campus will be defined within a cohort, this enables the tuition calculation for students on multiple campuses to utilize the level‐rate structure regardless of the campus at which (s)he starts.

Continuing Students

Continuing students (students admitted prior to Summer 2014‐15) are not part of The OHIO Guarantee. These students will follow the undergraduate non-Guarantee tuition schedule.

Nondegree Students

Students admitted or enrolled as nondegree students (who are not pursuing an undergraduate degree) are not part of The OHIO Guarantee. For example, high school students in the College Credit Plus program, other high school students, honors academy students, exchange students, local students taking occasional classes, etc. Once a student is defined as degree‐seeking, however, they will be placed into the appropriate cohort based upon the initial semester enrolled as a degree‐seeking student.

Re-enrolling Students

Re‐enrolling students who were admitted in a degree‐seeking program prior to Fall 2015‐16 will follow the traditional tuition model, as the continuing students do, and are not part of The OHIO Guarantee. Re‐enrolling students who were initially admitted Fall 2015‐16 or later will be in their respective level‐rate cohort and will follow the regular rules after 12 consecutive semesters have elapsed.

Length of Cohort Guaranteed Rate

A student in The OHIO Guarantee will have 4 years (12 consecutive semesters, including fall, spring and summer)  at the level rate regardless of course load (i.e., student could be enrolled full‐time, half‐time, or not enrolled). This provides all students the opportunity to complete as many hours, majors, minors, certificates, or degrees within the 4 year (12 consecutive semesters) cohort. It fosters early degree completion and simplifies the calculation of when a student moves from one guaranteed cohort to another, thereby, treating all students equitably regardless of the amount of credit the student brings to Ohio University.

Length of Cohort Rate Table

The OHIO Guarantee cohorts are for 4 years (12 consecutive semesters). Some students may require additional semesters beyond the 12 to complete their baccalaureate degrees and can, in certain circumstances, apply for an exception. EXCEPTIONS – A student must apply for an exception prior to the conclusion of their 4 year (12 consecutive semesters) term. Students with approved exceptions may be granted additional semesters at their established cohort rate.

Costs Assessed at OHIO Guarantee Rates

The OHIO Guarantee is a comprehensive program consisting of the following assured costs for students in The OHIO Guarantee:


  • INSTRUCTIONAL FEE – This required fee covers costs associated with instruction and is a component of tuition. If a student enrolls in Athens or regional campus classes then the tuition rate is based upon the student’s level‐rate cohort. Any class on the Athens or regional campuses (including online classes that are not eCampus) will have the tuition rate determined based upon and included in the student’s established level‐rate cohort.
  • GENERAL FEE – The general fee is a required component of tuition, and it provides funding for non-instructional student services. The fee is charged to every student who is enrolled in at least one class. The services and activities supported by the fee promote students' emotional and physical well-being, as well as their cultural and social development outside the classroom. If a student enrolls in Athens or regional campus classes, then the general fee rate is based upon and included in the student’s established level‐rate cohort.
  • NON-RESIDENT FEE – This required fee applies to all students who do not qualify for Ohio residency. It is used to fund those instructional costs the state pays for on behalf of qualifying Ohio residents. If a student who does not meet residency requirements for tuition purposes enrolls in classes, then the non‐resident surcharge rate is based upon and included in the student’s established level‐rate cohort.
  • HOUSING RATES – Students in The OHIO Guarantee will be subject to a level housing rate that represents the various housing options available. The rate charged to the student is based upon the student’s chosen or assigned residence type, e.g., single room, double room with air conditioning, etc. If a student changes from one room type to another, the level housing rate charged to the student will change according to the established prices on the cohort housing rate table, subject to availability of the room type. Students choosing to reside on campus beyond the second year are not guaranteed a space or room type. However, if a space is available for a student who has met the two‐year on campus residency requirement then the established cohort rate for the available room type will be honored.
  • CULINARY SERVICES MEAL PLAN RATES – Students in The OHIO Guarantee will be subject to a level meal plan rate based upon the type of meal plan selected. A student may select from multiple meal plan options at the established cohort rate.
  • CAREER & EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FEE – The Career and Experiential Learning Fee provides funding for services and resources that promote students’ engagement in one or more of six types of experiential learning:  community engagement, creative endeavor, internships, leadership, research, and study abroad/away. This required fee is based upon and included in the student’s OHIO Guarantee cohort.

Additional Student Expenses Included in the OHIO Guarantee

The goal of The Ohio Guarantee is to provide a comprehensive view of the anticipated costs to complete an undergraduate degree at Ohio University. The following expenses are included in The OHIO Guarantee rather than being billed separately:

  • SUPPLIES FEES ‐ Consumable supplies provided in coursework are included in the student’s level‐rate cohort’s tuition and fees.
  • STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM/NETWORK FEE – The student information system/network fee rate is included in the student’s level‐rate cohort’s tuition and fees.
  • TECHNOLOGY FEE – The technology fee rate(s) is/are included in the student’s established level‐rate cohort’s tuition and fees.
  • BOBCAT STUDENT ORIENTATION (BSO) FEE – The student portion of the Bobcat Student Orientation fee will be included in the student’s level‐rate cohort’s tuition and fees.
  • GRADUATION APPLICATION FEE – The graduation application fee will be included in the student’s level‐rate cohort’s tuition and fees and will not be charged as a separate fee at the time of application for graduation.
  • INDIVIDUAL COURSE FEE – In an effort to be completely transparent and ensure costs associated with individual courses are included in The OHIO Guarantee, the undergraduate individual course fees will be included as a single unchanging rate in The OHIO Guarantee. An average per student cost will be determined and charged to all students, thereby eliminating any unanticipated changes that may occur from year to year as a student is billed. There are clear guidelines and exceptions outlined including but not limited to:
    • Course fees for a small number of high‐cost programs or activities will be assessed beyond or in addition to level-rate tuition and fees (e.g., assessed due to travel or aviation costs that exceed a pre‐determined amount).
    • Program Fees/Study Abroad Fees/Domestic Travel Fees ‐ The instructional and general fees will be included in The OHIO Guarantee for these programs. However, additional fees (e.g., flight costs, activity fees, etc.) are not part of the OHIO Guarantee.

Cohort Pricing Model

Subsequent cohort increases will be determined by the combination of future biannual legislative prescribed tuition caps combined with a rolling  average of the CPI. This rate will be benchmarked against the other State of Ohio four-year research peer institutions’ four‐year rolling cost averages to account for the cohort pricing model. Any change in comparison, by which Ohio University’s pricing model has fallen significantly lower than those peer institutions will be submitted to the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents for approval.

Full-time/Half-time/Multi-campus Students

Students in The OHIO Guarantee may enroll in as few or as many hours as they wish according to the University Catalog up to 20 hours per semester. Exceeding 20 hours requires college student services office approval. The initial semester of non‐summer enrollment establishes the level‐tuition rate cohort and the student has 12 consecutive semesters, including the initial non‐summer semester, to graduate with the guaranteed rate. Students who take less than a full‐time course load at the Athens campus will pay an hourly, prorated amount based on the full‐time guaranteed cohort rate. If a student is enrolled on more than one campus, then the tuition is calculated based on the number of hours enrolled at each campus, not to exceed the comprehensive rate of The OHIO Guarantee.

Students Who Stop Out/Withdraw and Return

If a student in The OHIO Guarantee cohort chooses to stop out, withdraw, or is judicially suspended from the University, then the student will use the semester(s) of eligibility while absent within the 12 semester Guarantee. When this student re‐enrolls, if 12 semesters have not lapsed since initial enrollment, then the student is still charged the guaranteed rate based on their original cohort. If 12 semesters have passed, then the re‐enrolling student is moved to the next cohort (cohort plus one) unless it has been more than 15 semesters, then cohort plus two; more than 18 then cohort plus three; etc. Re‐enrolling (student who stops out for fall or spring semester) students admitted prior to Summer 2015 will not be in a cohort and, therefore, are not part of The OHIO Guarantee and will follow the traditional tuition model.

Programs That Require 4+ Years

Students in programs that have been identified to the Ohio Board of Regents as requiring more than 128 hours to complete will automatically receive an additional 13th semester of the Guarantee. These programs currently require between 129 and 133 semester hours and account for a very small percentage of students. If a student internally transfers to one of these programs from a standard 128 or fewer credit‐hour program, (s)he will receive the automatic 13th semester in The OHIO Guarantee.

Students Complete More Than One Credential

Students may complete as many undergraduate degrees, majors, minors, and/or certificates as they are able within the 4-year (12 consecutive semesters) term of the OHIO Guarantee. Students pursuing a baccalaureate and a graduate course credit at the same time will have their undergraduate course credit assessed based on the OHIO Guarantee cohort. If the student is receiving graduate course credit, then the student will be charged the appropriate graduate fees (instructional, general, course, etc.) for those hours.

Students Graduate in Fewer Than 12 Semesters

Students who graduate in fewer than 12 semesters will continue to be permitted to enroll in classes at the initial level‐rate cohort until 12 consecutive semesters have passed. The OHIO Guarantee is designed to encourage graduation, and students should be congratulated for finishing in fewer than 12 semesters. These students will see a savings compared to other students who need to take the full 12 semesters of classes.

Students Who Require More Than the 4 years (12 Consecutive Semesters)

Students who take more than 12 semesters to graduate, are not in a program approved to require 4+ years, and are not part of an exception group (defined below), at the end of their 12th semester, will automatically be placed into The OHIO Guarantee cohort that went into effect the year after their initial cohort (initial cohort plus one). The student will remain in that cohort for up to three additional semesters and if still enrolled after that will be placed into the next cohort (initial cohort plus two) for the next three semesters, etc. until the student is no longer enrolled.

Exceptions For Students Who Require More Than 12 Semesters

There will be some students who require more than 12 semesters (or 13 for majors approved as requiring 4+ years) to graduate due to circumstances beyond their control. Each case will need to be evaluated on its own merit.

Requests for OHIO Guarantee extensions due to extenuating circumstances are evaluated by the Tuition Appeals Committee. Instructions for the appeal processes and applicable forms are available on the Executive Vice President and Provost webpage.

Requests for additional semesters at an OHIO Guarantee cohort rate are likely to be approved for the following circumstances:

  • STUDENT CALLED TO ACTIVE MILITARY OR RESERVE DUTY – A student called to active duty will be given an automatic extension of the Guarantee based upon the number of semesters impacted by their time served.
  • REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION FOR DISABILITY – If it is determined that additional semesters are a reasonable accommodation of a student’s disability impact within The OHIO Guarantee, the Assistant Dean for Student Accessibility Services will make recommendations for the appropriate continuation.
  • MEDICAL CONDITIONS – A student who has extenuating medical issues will need to submit an appeal to extend the cohort rate based on their unique situation. The appeal will need to be evaluated individually and a determination made based on the nature of the medical issue.

In the following circumstances, extensions of the OHIO Guarantee are granted automatically and no appeal is required:

  • OHIO PROGRAM OF INTENSIVE ENGLISH (OPIE) – A student may be admitted to a degree‐seeking program at the same time as completing language training in OPIE. If this is the case, then the student will be given automatically the additional semester(s), beyond the standard 12 semesters, equal to the number of semesters they were in OPIE classes, up to the maximum 18. A nondegree-seeking OPIE student who later declares a degree will be placed into the cohort associated with the semester they were admitted to the degree‐seeking program.
  • INTERNSHIPS/CO‐OPS – A student in an approved internship and/or co‐op through their college may be granted additional semester(s) at their established cohort rate equal to the semesters they were enrolled in internship/co‐op credit.
  • UNIVERSITY ERRORS – If it is determined that a University error caused a student to have to extend beyond the 12 semesters contemplated in the OHIO Guarantee program, then the student will be afforded additional semester(s) to complete their degree appropriately.
  • If a student is not able to complete their degree program in the four years of their established cohort because a required course, or available space in a required course, was not offered, the University will provide the necessary course(s) in compliance with H. B. No. 59 Section 3345.48. To be considered for this exemption, a student must file an appeal through The OHIO Guarantee appeals committee. That appeal must demonstrate the affected course(s) was required via the student’s DARS report, that the student had met with an advisor prior to the start of the second week of classes of the term(s) in question to discuss alternatives, and that there was no resolution available.