The Ohio State University has proposed increasing tuition for incoming freshmen by 1.4 percent – and then locking in that price for the next four years. It joins a group of Ohio universities hiking costs for students this fall.
Under a proposal being considered by Ohio State trustees on Friday, in-state tuition and fees for the Columbus campus would be $10,726 per year through the 2021-22 school year. With dining costs and housing, the cost becomes $23,160 per year.
The tuition hike was approved by the finance committee of the Board of Trustees on Thursday.
“The committee is recommending the freeze because ultimately we look for access and affordability for students over long periods of time, and we like the certainty it gives to students coming in, because once they know what tuition they’re going to pay for their first year, they know exactly what it will be four years,” says university Chief Financial Officer Michael Papadakis.
Despite a tuition freeze mandated by the state’s current budget, the universities are able to increase costs for the incoming class through legislation approved by lawmakers in 2013.
The law allows for the creation of tuition guarantee programs. Under these programs, universities can increase tuition and certain fees by as much as 6 percent one time. That rate, however, cannot go up for the class over their four years at the institution, and rates for subsequent classes can only be increased by inflation, about 2 percent.
This is the second year that Ohio State has offered the guarantee. Ohio State set the rate for last year’s incoming class at $10,592.
“Ultimately, 80 percent of the funding for undergraduate education comes from tuition and fees, which is a significant shift from where we were 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago,” Papadakis says. “We need to have a mechanism, from a tuition standpoint, we can have gradual increases that make sense, at the same time we’re also managing expenses at the university to help keep costs down for students.”
Papadakis says he can’t predict how long the university will offer the tuition guarantee program.
Youngstown State University, Kent State University, and Ohio University all have approved income hikes under their tuition guarantee programs. The University of Cincinnati, however, will keep its tuition at $11,000 per year for its newest students.
Ohio State recently announced a few new initiatives aimed as providing financial support to students, including offering free tuition to all Pell Grant recipients – including at regional campuses. The university expects to spend about $3 million per year on the new “Buckeye Opportunity Program,” which is aimed at closing the gap left after federal and state financial aid.
That program is expected to help about 3,000 main-campus students and 1,200 full-time students at the Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark campuses, as well as the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster.