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Students shift gears for semester switch

With the switch to semesters just two quarters away, Ohio State officials reassure students worried about possible cuts in financial aid and changes in the way tuition is paid.

Gus Carlos, a second-year in psychology, said he is concerned about how the semester switch will affect his financial aid.

“I’m from Texas and so I have to pay out-of-state tuition,” he said. “I’m worried about how (tuition) is going to change, how my loans might change.”

Despite students concerns, university officials are reassuring students that cost of tuition and fees will not be affected by the quarter-to-semester conversion. Under the semester calender, students will pay for tuition twice a year, instead of the three times a year tuition is paid on the quarter system.

Subsequently, financial aid awarded to students will be disbursed twice a year instead of three times a year.

Tuition and fees for the 2011-2012 year are $9,711 for an Ohio resident, and $24,759 for an out-of-state student.

Steven Fink, co-chair of the Semester Conversion Coordinating Committee, told The Lantern that although the amount of tuition students have to pay per semester might seem larger than usual, the cost of tuition will remain the same.

“You’d be billed for tuition twice a year instead of three times a year,” Fink said. “So the bills would look bigger but the cost of a single year of tuition will be the same (but it will be) divided up differently.”

Fink also said financial aid would be “adjusted to correspond” with the changes in tuition.

The university’s “Pledge to Students,” details the promise to ensure that the cost of general and instructional fees in an academic year with semesters will not cost more than a year’s tuition would have cost with quarters.

The pledge also mentions the switch will not have an effect on financial aid.

Jay Johnson, assistant provost, said in an email that tuition for Fall Semester will not be set until the committee’s April board meeting.

Although some students voiced their concerns regarding changes in financial aid, others are not worried about increases in tuition costs.

“I’m not really worried because (the university) said everything should stay almost the same,” said Kayleigh Roenker, a second-year in linguistics. “I’m considering an internship in D.C with the public affairs building and they said that scholarships will cover for it, so I’m not worried.”

Apart from changes in tuition costs, students are also concerned about increases in textbook prices.

Melissa Wingo, a third-year in medieval and renaissance studies, said textbook prices are one of her main concerns.

“Books are going to be a lot more expensive because you’re going to be buying for four, five classes,” Wingo said. “Instead of paying $300, you’re now going to have a $600 book bill … I hope I have that money when I need my books.”

Fink said although increases in text book prices might come as “sticker shock” to students, students need to expect to see costs being added to their bills.

“There is a heads up here,” Fink said, “Students do need to anticipate certain kinds of bills being larger because they’re coming less frequently.”

Fink advises students to seek updates from advisers in order to be able to anticipate changes ahead of time.

“The greatest fear is the fear of the unknown.” Fink said. “In the pledge to students we’re basically assuring students that they won’t be harmed in terms of costs and times of degree, the complimentary element of that pledge is that students need to seek advice from their academic units so they can anticipate changes and get on top of them.”

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