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Board of Trustees to vote on eliminating 70 percent of course fees Thursday

The Ohio State Board of Trustees will discuss proposals on Thursday that look to reduce course fees for students. Credit: Lantern file photo

On Thursday, the Board of Trustees Finance Committee will vote to eliminate 70 percent of course fees and reduce additional costs for students.

Four proposals will be discussed regarding student fee simplification and student savings: course fees, textbooks, a tuition waiver and benefits for military families.

If introduced, according to a press release from Ohio State on Tuesday, the measures are estimated to collectively save students up to $1.9 million.

“We are working hard to create savings for students, make costs more predictable and create increased opportunities for families across our state and nation,” President Michael Drake said in the release.

The course fee proposal — that was passed by the University Senate Fiscal committee in the spring — would remove the fee from 278 of 400 courses, which covers specialized costs, such as labs associated with particular courses, eliminating more than $700,000 in revenue, but still retaining over $5.5 million, according to Finance Committee documents released Monday.

The number of courses with fees more than quadrupled from 87 to 400 from the fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2015, according to the documents.

Fees will be kept in three high volume areas of discipline: chemistry, biology and physics, which rely on the revenue for the labs, and pass-through fees in music, social work and first aid that cover third-party costs.

The tuition waiver proposal would allow students to take 19 to 21 credit hours without additional costs to their tuition. Currently, Ohio State students are charged at a per-credit rate if they exceed 18 credit hours.

Additional courses eligible for the tuition waiver would be classes that provide credit for internships or field experience and engagement in research and that are required to graduate within two semesters — which are limited to rank 4 students.

Students have to obtain permission from an academic adviser and cannot be on academic or special action probation to qualify for the waiver.

The proposal is projected to cost the university $500,000 per year if passed, according to Board documents.

The Undergraduate Student Government 2016-17 General Assembly originally passed the resolution to eliminate the additional cost to tuition, and after two years, the resolution is finally coming before the Board.

The textbook affordability proposal would implement an inclusive access pilot for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 to allow student digital access to course material that are 70 to 80 percent less expensive than traditional materials. The cost would include all content being delivered to a single location on or before first day of class.

The university now uses Affordable Learning Exchange – a grant program that helps faculty convert existing course materials into free or low-cost digital options — and Engage eReader — a platform to deliver reduced cost textbooks in digital form — in an effort to reduce textbook costs.

The last of the four affordability proposals is for military families, which would charge in-state tuition rates for any veteran or military member with at least 90 days of service and for their spouse and children.

The military benefits proposal would cause Ohio State to have a loss in revenue of $477,600 per year, according to Board documents. If the Board accepts the proposal, the university would need approval from the Ohio Department of Education before going into effect in the spring.

The four new initiatives would become effective in spring 2019 if approved by the board

2 comments

  1. I am really confused on where fees fit into campus, so am pleased to hear Ohio State is working on this change. I graduated from OSU in 1998, but am just going back to grad school in CT this semester. I have a 100% tuition waiver as a veteran and am only taking 9 credits of classes. One is an undergrad history class, one an online grad class for education, and the other is a hybrid grad class for education. My fees for this semester are $2700. I have asked repeatedly for a breakdown of those fees and no one has been able to provide that.

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