OC Targets Affordability
Monday, February 2, 2009
Posted by: Katy Watson
Citing difficult economic times nationally and the potential impact on families, Oklahoma Christian University officials announced today a tuition and fees policy that will make attending the university more affordable for many students.
“We recognize that the current economic environment is putting a strain on families’ finances and we are working hard to hold down costs while continuing to provide a quality education,” said Jeff Bingham, Vice President for Finance. “The new policy focuses on affordability by providing several lower-cost options for students.” He noted that many other private and public universities in the area have raised or are planning to raise tuition for next fall.
For many students, the new plan would lower the overall cost from $22,956 for the 2008/2009 school year to $22,356 for 2009/2010, depending on the number of credit hours taken, and choice of different housing and meal programs.
Under the current tuition plan, students carrying 16 hours or less per term paid a flat fee for academic tuition plus a large general fee for other services provided to the student body. Under the new plan, the block tuition cost will not increase from Fall 2008 to Fall 2009, and students will have a lower general fee. The block tuition covered will provide for up to 15 hours per term. For the past three years, more than 60% of OC undergraduate students have enrolled in a semester load of 15 hours or less.
Another key element of the new plan is the choice offered in housing and meal plans. Students living in dormitories will have five different meal-plan options from which to choose, and students living in apartments will have three different options. Preferred housing costs will increase by 5%, but students who opt for preferred housing could still see a slight decrease in overall costs by selecting a lower meal plan.
“We have really focused on affordability in view of what is happening nationally with the economy,” Bingham said. “We want to be very sensitive to the needs of our students and their families while continuing to provide an affordable higher education in a Christian environment. At the same time, we have to be conscious of the university’s budgetary requirements—with rapidly rising costs—for continuing to provide the high-quality education that our students and their families expect. We believe this pricing plan will help ensure the best model for students and the university.”
Bingham also pointed out that few Oklahoma Christian students pay the listed price because more than 90% of students receive some form of scholarship, grant or other financial aid directly from the university. This year, OC awarded $12.8 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate students in addition to government aid and private scholarships and loans. OC remains priced well below most other high-quality, private, four-year universities, and basic room and board charges are lower than comparable student housing at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
The value of an Oklahoma Christian degree is seen in the accomplishments of its students and alumni, Bingham said. The Language and Literature Department’s student literary journal, Soundings, was named number one in the nation last spring. The university’s chapter of the national history honor society has been named the top chapter in the nation among smaller universities for the past 13 years. Students in the Art & Design and Communications departments won national honors in various competitions last year. Graduates from OC’s School of Business Administration, for example, have achieved the highest pass rate on the CPA examination of all of Oklahoma’s universities for 11 of the past 13 years. Ninety percent of students (100% of those participating in undergraduate research) who applied to medical schools were accepted. One hundred percent of OC’s history, political science, and language and literature students who applied to graduate school were accepted as well.