As potential budget cuts loom over Ohio State, officials look at ways to bring in extra money. But the Undergraduate Student Government says paying extra for taking more credit hours won’t be a factor until after the semester switch.
“(The cap is) just another piece of this puzzle,” said university CFO Geoffrey Chatas.
OSU charges each full-time student for 12 credit hours, regardless of how many credits the student is taking.
Full-time, in-state tuition for Autumn Quarter, including instructional, student activity, student union, COTA, general and recreation fees, was $3,140, said Wayne Carlson, vice provost of undergraduate studies and dean of undergraduate education.
If OSU decided to cap credit hours, students would be charged $280-$300 per credit hour for any hour exceeding 17, Carlson said.
“From the financial point of view, what we’re trying to do is balance all the competing needs here,” Chatas said. “We know that we’re looking at potentials for tuition increases.”
Based on the amount of students who have enrolled in more than 17 credit hours Autumn Quarter, Carlson said OSU could expect this cap to bring in about $10 million a quarter, not accounting for human behavior.
“Obviously from a financial impact, the lower point you start charging, the more money you earn, but the lower you charge, the fewer students would take extra credit hours,” Chatas said. “So it’s hard to predict what the financial impact would be on the university.”
But Carlson said increasing revenue was not the driving force for capping credits.
“We received quite a bit of input from our Committee on Academic Misconduct,” Carlson said. “In many cases, students were over-committed in terms of credit hours they were taking and did some things they probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.”
In the tuition credit cap proposal, Carlson said he and his colleagues considered how many hours students needed to graduate. The typical arts major, Carlson said, needs about 195-199 credit hours for graduation, while some engineering degrees require more than 200 hours.
This was only a proposal, Carlson said, and several options are under discussion as to how and when the cap would be implemented if approved.
As of late last week, Micah Kamrass, USG president, said Provost Joseph Alutto had told USG that if this cap did go into effect, it wouldn’t be until after the semester switch.
“The only commitment we’ve received right now is that it won’t be next year,” Kamrass said. “If it was going to happen, it shouldn’t happen until after semesters.”
Alutto is traveling and unable to comment.
At the State of the University address on Jan. 26, Kamrass outlined convincing OSU officials to postpone this cap as USG’s main goal. He said it would not be fair to students who were trying to complete their degree, a sequence or other classes before the switch to semesters.
Kamrass said USG has met with Alutto and Chatas to discuss the cap. He said USG reminded them of the University Executive Board’s promises involving the semester switch.
“They put out a pledge saying … everything would be done keeping the student’s best interest in mind,” Kamrass said. “They listened to us, which was great.”
Chatas and Carlson said no specific plans had been approved, so discussions on how best to proceed would continue.
“It will present a different scenario, if it doesn’t change until after semesters,” Carlson said in an e-mail. “I’m sure more conversations are to be had about that.”
Amanda Golden, a fourth-year in city and regional planning, said she would not be excited about paying extra for her classes.
“I came from Georgia, so we have semesters, so we take like 12 to 15 hours a semester, and here I’m taking 22 and it’s about the same amount of work,” Golden said. “I’d have to pay for five (extra credit hours), which is a lot. And I don’t want to pay that, especially since this is a public school.”
If a cap is installed, Kamrass said he hoped it is phased in, which Carlson and Chatas said was one possibility.
“We’re committed to doing what we can to make sure OSU stays affordable,” Chatas said. “You don’t want to have students being hit with everything at once.”
Although Carlson said he had not yet received the official word that the cap would be held off until after the switch, he had heard USG’s arguments.
“We listened to USG and we listened to student leadership and we certainly realized that that is an important discussion,” Carlson said. “It didn’t fall on deaf ears.”