Home Money McDavis holds forum with students over new tuition plan

McDavis holds forum with students over new tuition plan

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Ohio University students met with President Roderick McDavis and Vice President of Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi in an open forum Wednesday at Baker University Center to discuss a new guaranteed-tuition plan amid raises and bonuses for faculty.

The plan, as described by McDavis, aims to implement the Ohio Guarantee, which places all tuition and fees into a fixed cost for four years instead of the standing yearly incremental tuition raises.

McDavis, who continues to meet with trustees to develop a specific cost for the plan, believes the plan will be more affordable than the current system in place. He also assured the students of a $75 million university-endowed scholarship program to increase scholarship funds, and discussed his plans to rekindle the urban-scholars program. A detailed outline of the changes is planned to air on Ohio University’s website this spring.

What we are trying to do with this program is to stabilize the costs,” McDavis said. “We think that, in four years, our all-in costs will be less than our competitors’ in the marketplace, and if we’re successful with raising scholarship money, that will further decrease the amount of debt that our students have to come to OU. It’s a two-pronged approach.”

McDavis and Lombardi spoke on varying costs for fixed rates dependent on meal plans and housing options. Lombardi discussed ideas that included the option for meal plans detached from housing and possibly reducing meal-plan prices to make them more attractive.

The casual format of the event surprised many of the students attending.

“I imagined that the event was going to be more of a panel format in which President McDavis would answer the questions in front of the people who showed up to create more of a discussion,” said senior Caitlin Stone, who attended the event. “Instead, President McDavis and Lombardi made their rounds to speak to people personally.”

Members of the Ohio University Student Union were in attendance and asked a number of questions in an attempt to gauge the plan’s affordability to students as well as faculty-pay security. The president ensured union members that he aims to increase faculty compensation, avoid cuts and recruit new members.

When addressed about recent administration bonuses being tied to tuition fluctuation, McDavis maintained that the two were unrelated and he would address the allegations individually.

“That’s really more of an individual conversation … that’s taking a very small amount of money and blowing it up into the conversation … that’s not really the point,” McDavis said.

While some questioned the tuition changes in the midst of McDavis’ pay raise, others gave the president praise for his organization.

Junior Kyle Serrott applauded the resolution of the plan after previous experience with sudden tuition and faculty changes while attending Bowling Green State University.

“Out of nowhere, we had two tuition increases and suddenly 100 faculty were cut to cover debts that they owed and some other things,” Serrott said. “I’m willing to pay more for tuition increases if it means that we will have good faculty and resources for students, because I am someone who highly values my education.”

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