The Miami University Board of Trustees has approved the extension of Miami’s Tuition Promise to the Hamilton and Middletown campuses — a move that will reportedly save students almost 8 percent on their tuition costs.

For students pursuing four-year degrees at the regional campuses, the proposal would guarantee a tuition cost of $2,490 per semester for the fall 2018 entering class.

That rate would amount to a savings of $1,952.67 over four years for Ohio residents, or 7.7 percent less than the current tuition cost, said Cathy Bishop-Clark, interim associate provost and dean of the regional campuses.  

The tuition promise was implemented at the Oxford campus in the fall of 2016. This measure guarantees incoming students that the cost of their education at Miami will be frozen for four years at the price they paid when they entered the university.

The cost includes tuition, room and board, special purpose fees and course fees.

The regional campuses currently offer a two-tiered tuition rate in which students pay one price for the first two years and an increased rate the final two years.

According to Bishop-Clark, as more students have sought four-year degrees, it was increasingly difficult for them to plan for the full cost of their education. Now they will have access to their total cost before they start classes.

“[The proposal] would guarantee the tuition cost of a four-year degree at $23,520 for the fall 2018 entering class,” she said.

Universities in Ohio have only been permitted to establish undergraduate tuition guarantee programs within the past several years. The Tuition Promise in Oxford was proposed soon after it was allowed by law.

Ohio tuition guarantees only apply to colleges with four-year programs, which influenced the decision to first implement Miami’s Tuition Promise at the Oxford campus.

Miami’s Hamilton and Middletown campuses have increased their number of four-year programs in recent years, now offering bachelor’s degrees in 19 programs.

Ninety percent of students at the regionals are enrolled in bachelor’s degrees, so there is no reason to wait,” said university spokesperson Claire Wagner, regarding implementing the tuition promise at the regional campuses.

The new ability to plan for the total cost of their four-year education may have more of an impact on students and their families than simply decreasing the total price that they pay, Bishop-Clark said. The security of a fixed tuition rate could provide students with more motivation to finish their degrees on time.

We anticipate the certainty of cost and reduced tuition will enable more regional students to successfully complete their bachelor’s degrees,” Bishop-Clark said. “We also believe it will result in higher retention rates over time.”

Student government leaders at the regional campuses are supportive of the proposed guaranteed tuition rate, both because of the lowered cost and the opportunities for increased success at Miami, said Monica Schwab, president of student government at the Hamilton campus.

“We believe that this tuition guarantee is a phenomenal idea,” Schwab said. “Not only could this be a selling point for the university, but it also gives students the comfort of knowing that their tuition cannot go up during their time as a student at Miami regionals.”

The measure is pending approval from the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. If approved, the plan will go into effect beginning the 2018-2019 academic year.