The Ohio State Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Tuition Guarantee Program and locked in an increased cost of attendance for all incoming Ohio State students for the next four years. Incoming students aren’t the only ones who can expect more costs, as housing and dining plans for returning students will also rise, a new addition to the Friday proposal.
The tuition and fee structure now in place will raise the cost of tuition for all new students by varying rates, breaking the five-year tuition freeze Ohio State previously had.
In addition to the tuition hike, the Board voted to approve that housing fees increase 6 percent for all students — both incoming and returning — as opposed to the 3 percent increase that would have only impacted new students laid out in the plan initially presented to The Lantern.
Dining plans will also see a 3 percent swell, which will apply to all meal plans for both new and currently enrolled students.
The increases to housing and dining plans will be a part of the price guarantee for incoming students as well, which was not the case in the initial proposal. The room and board price increases come after a two-year freeze.
This past academic year was the first in which second-years were required to live on campus, and it resulted in a $25 million increase in student life revenue compared to the previous year.
The freshly approved price hike comes weeks before new students arrive on campus for the Autumn semester. University Provost Bruce McPheron said in Tuesday’s Board meeting that the new plan will help families better predict their costs now that they have a four-year fixed price tag.
The new costs for incoming in-state students will be reflected in a 6 percent increase to the instructional fee, bringing the yearly total of tuition and fees to $10,591. For non-residents, which includes both out-of-state and international students, a 5 percent increase will now take effect. On top of the 5 percent increase, incoming international students will be subject to a $996 increase to the flat yearly fee, bringing the cost of tuition and fees to $32,623.
According to financial projections provided to the Board, tuition and fees make up 39 percent of costs, with housing and dining making up 45 percent of total costs. That leaves 16 percent going toward books and miscellaneous expenses such as travel and clothing.
For incoming students, Ohio State now controls 84 percent of the cost of college for the first two years, locking in prices for families to see in advance and help plan for, Geoff Chatas, Ohio State’s Chief Financial Officer and the primary architect of the program, said.
University officials pointed to the state budget being officially approved this month for the timing of the recently developed Tuition Guarantee Program.
“We have reached a point where we think it prudent to work our way through the opportunities that are made available to us under state law,” McPheron said. “For us, the attractiveness of thinking about the guarantee and being able to add that level of predictability was really the tipping point for us making this recommendation.”
The state law McPheron referred to is the two-year price freeze on state college tuition for in-state students that is now in effect as part of the state budget. The budget allowed for a maximum 6 percent increase in tuition if it was accompanied by a four-year tuition freeze, something that Ohio State decided to take advantage of.
Ohio State now joins Ohio University and Miami University as the only public schools in the state to have a guaranteed tuition plan.
John Zeiger, the newest addition to the Board, said the magnitude of the price tag upfront first caught his eye, which was bigger than he would have liked, but that the long-term guarantee of a fixed tuition price was enough to ease any lingering concerns.
The Board also unanimously approved an increase to the cost of all student health insurance packages by 8.7 percent.
In addition to price increases, the Board approved increasing financial aid as part of the President’s Affordability Grant and the doubling of the Land Grant Scholarship, now given to two students from each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Ohio State spokesmen have not yet provided The Lantern with information on whether or not the tuition increases will result in larger merit-based scholarships given to incoming freshmen students, to match the higher cost of attendance.