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Otterbein University expects to end tuition freeze

Vice president for enrollment introduces new tuition model for 2019

Following five years of consistent tuition costs, Otterbein University expects to raise tuition and adopt a new tuition model in the 2019-20 academic year.

The proposal was previewed during the university senate meeting held in Riley Auditorium on Oct. 10.

According to Jefferson Blackburn-Smith, vice president for enrollment management, one of the biggest concerns of parents of prospective students is what the future costs of college will be.

The university plans to introduce a new model known as tuition transparency. According to Blackburn-Smith, this model allows students to know what their tuition will be for all four years before they choose to enroll. This model also allows Otterbein to tell parents and prospective students ahead of time what the university plans to do with tuition. 

"I’m not saying no tuition increase, we’re saying we will tell students and families in advance what we’re going to do with tuition," said Blackburn-Smith. "It requires us as a university to not look at our students as a bank, but to really do meaningful budgeting."  

Students have varying concerns over changes in the tuition models and the potential for tuition increase.

Lauren Kess, a sophomore business administration and management major and OUSG member, called the decision "bogus."

"We were told that this was not stuff we would have to worry about," said Kess. "They should be more consistent with their word."

For Juan Vera, a senior systems engineering major, feelings were neutral.

"This wouldn't really affect me, stuff like scholarships and FAFSA took care of my college debts," said Vera. "The only thing that I had to pay for was room and board my freshman year."

Some students are not sure what the changes mean for them. Allison Gould, a sophomore zoo and conservation science major, said that while the tuition freeze was a good idea, she can understand why the decisions to change that were made.

"Personally, I would not want it to happen, and it does make concerns possible for financial aid coverage," said Gould.

The adoption of the new tuition transparency model and final tuition increases will be discussed at the Otterbein board of trustees meeting on Saturday, Oct. 20.

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