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Incoming Ohio State students could see fee increases under new proposal

Ohio State announced plans Friday to increase its cost of attendance for incoming first-year and transfer students across the board with the introduction of the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee. The proposed program would add a 6 percent instructional fee increase for incoming Ohio freshmen across all campuses, and freeze the cost through the 2020-21 academic year.

The 6 percent hike for incoming in-state students brings the total cost of tuition and fees per year to $10,591 beginning in Spring 2018, compared to the $10,037 in tuition and fees for students already enrolled this fall.

University officials said this is not a tuition increase but instead an additional fee now associated with a four-year guaranteed price aimed at helping families plan attend for the cost of a college education. If approved, it would mean an extra $550 in attendance cost each year for incoming first-years at main campus.

On top of instructional fee increases, Ohio State is also planning to increase dining fees by 3 percent, making the most common meal plan $3,895 for the year. The housing fee will also increase 3 percent, bringing the cost of a year of living on campus to $8,112.

The most common housing and dining plans would in total cost $12,007 for two semesters. Further rate increases to housing and dining are not currently planned, but are a possibility in coming years, university officials said.

Officials said these increases will only apply to incoming students, both freshmen and transfers, but not existing students. The plan is set to go before the Board of Trustees for approval Tuesday.

Credit: J.L. Lacar / Managing Editor for Design

Additionally, newly enrolled out-of-state students at all campuses can expect a 5 percent non-resident fee increase, which equates to roughly $1,500 over the course of the year at main campus. Current non-resident students pay $29,141, incoming non-resident students would pay $29,695.

In contrast to domestic students, international students will have a flat $996 international fee increase, as opposed to a fixed percentage. The $996 increase in the international fee accompanied with the annual 3-percent increase already in place will take international student tuition and fees from $30,161 in 2017 to $32,623 in 2018, or an 8.2 percent increase.

The steady spike in cost of attendance for international students comes amid a period of growth in their presence on campus. Since the fall of 2011, the number of international students has grown from 5,558 to 6,446 in Autumn 2016, according to university data. Last year, international students made up 7.96 percent of the student population at the Columbus campus, according to an Undergraduate Student Government report.

University officials pointed to a freeze in Ohio State’s tuition the last two years as the primary reason behind these increases, and said the new four-year price guarantee would make up for the initial spike.

In a prepared statement, University President Michael Drake said the program provides predictability for the future while Ohio State’s increased focus on need-based aid protects opportunity.

 

Room and Board

As part of the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee, housing and dining fees would increase by 3 percent. Credit: J.L. Lacar | Managing Editor for Design

The increase in room-and-board fees follows the first full year in which sophomores were required to live, and in turn, eat on campus. The new on-campus living requirement resulted in a $25 million increase in revenue for the Office of Student Life when compared to the previous year in March, according to financial documents provided at the most recent Board of Trustees meeting. University officials attributed the 3 percent increases in housing and dining to covering increased operational costs and continued general upkeep.

Full revenue numbers, including complete housing and dining numbers, are not made available until the end of Ohio State’s fiscal year in July.

 

Student Health Insurance

Ohio State is also planning to increase the cost of its health insurance plan offered to students by about 9 percent. The health insurance plan for a single student would go from $2,754 to $2,994 under the new plan. Only about 2,000 students out of the almost 60,000 sign onto Ohio State’s health coverage according to university officials.

Students at all Ohio State campuses are required to have health insurance if they are enrolled in at least six credit hours as an undergraduate, and four credit hours as a graduate or professional. They are also required to have health insurance if they are in a degree program, according to the Office of Student Life website. A majority of students are covered under health care provided by employers or by their parents plan, university officials said.

 

Scholarship and Grant Programs

In an effort to offset some of the new price hikes, Ohio State announced it would be expanding two notable scholarship and grant programs, including doubling the Land Grant Scholarship recipients from one in each Ohio county to two (176 total recipients). The scholarship will now also cover the full cost of attendance, including room and board. The previous version of the scholarship did not do so, university officials said.

Additionally, $5 million will be added to the President’s Affordability Grant, in addition to the already-pledged $20 million. The grant is aimed at helping low and middle-income Ohioans. The $25 million commitment totals the grant program at $60 million over the previous three years, in line with the $100 million goal laid out in Drake’s 2020 vision. The program expanded last year to include branch campuses.

 

Course and Technology Fees

To streamline and further simplify the cost of attendance, Ohio State is working to do away with individual course and technology fees in the future, such as lab fees that cover various materials, and program technology fees that support computer labs and special software. The individual fees are under review by the university, with plans to phase out as many as possible for students beginning Spring semester in 2018, saving them $93 a semester.

University officials said the fees will now be reflected in the instructional fee.

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