Ohio University debates instituting frozen tuition rates similar to CMU Promise

Ohio University is exploring an option similar to the CMU Promise that Central Michigan University implemented in 2005.

The CMU Promise locked in tuition for new in-state students at $213 per credit hour in 2005. According to CMU’s website, this meant that amount would not change for students for the following four years through the end of the 2009 summer term. The CMU Promise was phased out by the beginning of the 2008 academic year.

According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch, the OU board of trustees discussed the pros and cons of locking in a predetermined tuition rate during a Feb. 7 meeting.

West Bloomfield native and CMU alum Hayley Sitron was a beneficiary of the CMU Promise when she enrolled during the 2007-08 academic year. She said the Promise was beneficial, giving her a sense of security knowing tuition wasn’t going to go up while at CMU.

“With the Promise, the tuition was going to be what it was when you were a freshman,” Sitron said.

Frozen tuition rates can help offset financial burden when applying for college since students won't have to worry about unpredictable tuition hikes, and they can encourage students to graduate in four years so they won't lose their locked-in rate.

CMU’s tuition for the 2012-13 academic year is set at $365 per credit hour for in-state students, $152 more than the tuition in 2005, while OU’s 2012-13 tuition is $484 per credit hour for in-state students and $926 for out-of-state students.

OU President Roderick McDavis told his board of trustees the concept of a frozen tuition rate is becoming more popular, The Dispatch reports.

"This is a national concept that institutions across the country are looking at,” McDavis said.

OU campus officials discussed two possible options for locking in tuition.

The first involves a hike of 3.5 percent for continuing students and 5.9 percent for new freshmen. After this, there would be no tuition increases for the next three years.

The second option would not increase tuition for continuing students; however, new freshmen would pay 7.4 percent more the first year.

A one-time 5.9-percent increase would apply to each consecutive freshman class. This plan is projected to generate an extra $13 million, according to The Dispatch.

When CMU implemented the Promise in 2005, the credit hour rate decreased as students completed more credits and moved up in class standing. For example, a freshman with up to 25 credits paid $213, while a fifth-year senior with more than 100 credits paid $179.

Although Sitron said the Promise didn’t influence her decision to attend CMU, her parents were both happy about it.

“I’m sure it helped a lot of students who paid tuition without the help of their parents,” she said.


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