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Ohio U unveils OHIO Guarantee+ program for incoming freshmen

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Ohio University administrators announced on Monday an expansion of the university’s OHIO Guarantee program — which locks students’ fees and tuition in place for 12 consecutive semesters — to include a personalized graduation plan for each student and further benefits for alumni.

The expanded program, titled OHIO Guarantee+, is expected to begin implementation during fall semester 2020 and finish in 2023. The original OHIO Guarantee was launched in 2015.

If a student elects to enroll at Ohio U under Guarantee+, they will sign an agreement with the university, which will outline both the university’s commitment to a student graduating on time and the student’s commitment to successfully completing their plan. If the university does not fulfill its commitment, it will “make it right” by offering course substitutions or providing students funds to take needed courses, said Robin Oliver, vice president of University Communications and Marketing.

Agreements are flexible in order to adapt to a student’s changing needs throughout their time at Ohio U, according to Elizabeth Sayrs, senior vice provost for undergraduate education.

Guarantee+ allows alumni to participate in the bobcat mentorship network, which includes mock interviews, career guidance and virtual workshop. The program will expand scholarships available to alumni who wish to further their education beyond an undergraduate degree.

“This is the kind of work we can and should be doing for our students,” said Oliver. 

In the first phase of implementation, Guarantee+ will be offered to 17 out of the hundreds of majors on the Athens campus, Sayrs said.

Roughly half of the remaining majors will be added to the program with each additional phase. In the final phase, Guarantee+ will be offered at all campuses for all undergraduate majors.

The College of Business began a pilot version of the graduation plan and career guidance in 2015 that Guarantee+ offers for the 11 majors in the college where students meet with a career adviser and take two career management classes throughout their time at Ohio U.

“We really utilize and maximize the learning communities that are required in the College of Business,” said Jennifer Murphy, the assistant dean of career management and success for the College of Business, “We created a touchpoint every single semester in the College (of Business) from freshman year … all the way to the end at graduation.”

Incoming freshmen for fall 2020 have the option to create an agreement with the university as their graduation plan, which will be designed by the student and an adviser. 

Currently, students meet with an academic adviser for scheduling each semester. In the Guarantee+ program, advisers will analyze the remaining time students have at Ohio U. This will allow students to work in additional majors, minors or certificates and study abroad opportunities while still graduating on time.

Advisers to the program will depend on the college. In the College of Business, professionals, career coaches and faculty currently advise students. Other colleges may rely primarily on faculty. 

As large numbers of students enter Ohio U with credit from high school, a graduation plan could be created for less than four years. 

“We really wanted to find a way for it to work for everybody and not be so boxed in to sort of a traditional four-year landscape,” Oliver said.

Majors included in the Guarantee+ program for Fall 2020:

  • Accounting
  • Business Analytics
  • Business Economics
  • Business Pre-Law
  • Communication Studies
  • Engineering Technology and Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Finance
  • International Business
  • Management and Strategic Leadership
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Music Education
  • Psychology (Athens campus)
  • Sport Management
  • Studio Art (BFA)
  • College of Arts and Sciences Undecided
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