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May Session could see changes, will not be free next year

May Session could see some major changes in the coming years, and while many of those changes are unknown, it will no longer be free after 2015.

Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Steinmetz told The Lantern in a Tuesday interview that tuition will be charged for May Session starting next spring, but that the entire model of summer courses could be different as well.

The University Senate fiscal committee recommended last year that Ohio State should start charging for the three credit hours in May Session, which are currently free to students enrolled full-time during Spring Semester. But Steinmetz said he wanted to wait until 2016 because by then, most of the students who attended OSU during the semester switch would have graduated.

May Session was created when OSU switched to semesters from quarters in 2012. It’s a four-week session that’s separate from the seven-week Summer Session, which together comprise Summer Term. This year, it starts May 11 and ends June 5.

Students who enrolled in May Session are still responsible for paying student fees, including Central Ohio Transit Authority and activity fees, which total $46.75 this year for three credit hours.

Without the tuition waiver, the three credit hours for May Session would cost about $1,190 in general and instructional fees alone, plus an out-of-state surcharge for students who aren’t Ohio residents.

Last year, a budget review committee issued a report that estimated the university could expect an $11 to $12 million revenue gain each year if students were charged for Maymester, assuming a 8.5 percent participation rate.

Steinmetz said he and President Michael Drake have been talking about ways to make better use of Summer Semester in general. One way, he said, would be through offering more online courses. Others are more complex.

“The other might be to re-envision how we are using May along with the Summer Session,” he said. “There’s all kinds of ways to think about how you would divide that time up, into thirds, into half. There’s other ways to look at it.”

He said because there’s a four-week May Session and then a seven-week Summer Session, there’s the possibility to have four-week, eight-week and 11-week classes.

“Those are three possibilities that would all allow you to use that May Session together with the other parts of the summer,” Steinmetz said.

There’s been discussion among OSU’s professional schools about the College of Arts and Sciences offering more general education courses during May Session, he said. But the problem is that “May Session isn’t a good time for some gen-eds.”

“So a good example is an English literature course, you probably don’t wanna take in four weeks and read 26 books or something. That’s probably not gonna quite work,” he said. “But there are other types of courses that I think are really well-suited to four weeks.”

He also mentioned that vice provost for academic programs Randy Smith has been working with a group to come up with recommendations about how to most effectively use Summer Session and May Session together. “So it’s sort of, in a way, an evaluation of that session, of whether it’s achieving the things that we want or not,” Steinmetz said.

He added that he and Drake also “have a group that we formed that’s … going to come back to us with some thoughts about summer.”

“I don’t know if we’d even call it a May Session anymore, so it depends what comes out of this,” he said.


  1. What a mess! I don’t see how this schedule mess can be conceived as an improvement over the straightforward quarter system.

  2. Case Western Reserve University had a one month January term in the early 1970’s, as part of their 4-1-4 academic calendar. It failed after a few years, just as the current OSU 4-4-1 academic calendar is failing. One month is too short a time for most people to learn something serious.

  3. Sure is great to know that OSU is putting revenue first! I was afraid that this making students a priority might catch on.

  4. Right off the bat, from the headline, you can tell this article is going to be lacking.

    “May Session could see changes, will not be free next year”

    Not being free is a major change. May session WILL see major changes; by saying it “could” you introduce… confusion.

    In fact, the lead of the story doesn’t need to include a reference to other possible changes. That can come in the text of the story.

  5. Whatever is done, instructors must be made to make their course materials known at least 1 full month (or more)in order for students to obtain said materials. After spending 16 years trying to identify course materials from instructors, I have to say that more often than not, these materials are not known until 1 week before the term start. This puts the students in a very bad position for obtaining their materials and for those needing alternative formats, it’s often impossible and puts them behind through no fault of their own. They pay to attend OSU (which I love) but from a consumer’s standpoint they are not being well served.

  6. Ok, if they charge one penny in tuition for May Session it is a scam.

    I just spent two hours looking through the courses being offered. Couldn’t find a single decent one, for Gen Ed or for a major. In fact, for the History department there isn’t a single on-campus course being offered this May. They are all “Individual Studies”, “Independent Studies”, self-directed research for your thesis, or, one-week classes that prepare you for the big (expensive) overseas trip (read professorial boondoggle).

    If you live off campus, you very much want to take a class May session as your housing is in effect free, along with the free tuition. But it seems the school really doesn’t want you to take a class, probably because the teachers are all on salary and don’t see the incentive to teach a meaningful May session class.

    Another ten years and the entire collegiate experience will be exposed as just a slightly more subtle scam.

  7. Not to harp on this issue, but I do think it really exposes the university.

    Among all the Business departments there is only one, REPEAT one, class below the 4000 level. BUSMGT “Operations in Action”

    It is described thus:

    Designed to provide early business students exposure to the field of operations and supply chain management (OM/SCM). This course will use a blended method of education consisting of self-study of selected materials, in-class discussion, communications with a female mentor, and tours of operations at several selected organizations.
    Prereq: Open to all Fisher business students.

    It does include some in-class discussion, but what jumps out of course is the reference to “communications” with a “female” mentor. What does that mean, texts and email? It doesn’t refer to regular meetings with an experienced, industry-certified mentor. Isn’t it terribly sexist to care, or even to note, that the mentor is a female? What about noting if the mentor is gay, or an ethnic minority?

    And it is only 2 credit hours (though it sounds like it is worth only 0.2 credit hours.) Who is going to miss a summer job, to stay on-campus for a “class” like that?

    The OSU administrators may be stupid, but the students aren’t. Presently, of the 20 spots available, none is taken!

  8. William M. Grant

    A tad puzzled why this issue wasn’t considered in the switch from quarters
    to semesters and now will be charging a fee for those students who can find
    a course for the May session. Is anybody in charge here ?

    Bill Grant
    OSU ’61

  9. “During all these years that it has been with us, [Intersession] has failed to achieve a sufficiently coherent philosophy in terms of what it is supposed to be, so that perceptions and expectations are intolerably divergent as between the Colleges and among the students, teachers, and administrators, and it therefore commands inadequate support from all of them. At the same time, with no redeeming aspects, we have shortened the regular semesters to a dangerous point.”

    CWRU’s verdict on their January term (“Intersession”, 1970-76). From: http://blog.case.edu/archives/2011/01/

    Does anyone else see a parallel with the current situation? (Hint: Substitute “May Session” and “Maymester” for “Intersession”, and “OSU” for “CWRU”.)

  10. please learn how to write a relevant headline or at least hire someone who can. thank you.

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