The University of Oregon’s tuition board will host its annual informational forum to get input from students on tuition on Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Redwood Auditorium from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The forum, which will include free dinner, will provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss a proposal that could change how tuition and fees are calculated for undergraduate students.
The Tuition and Fees Advisory Board intends to discuss the recently proposed concept of the university adopting a guaranteed tuition model, where undergraduate tuition rates would “lock in” for an incoming class for five years. (Graduate tuition rates vary by program, unlike how undergraduates pay the same tuition overall.)
Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management Roger Thompson said that, in a hypothetical model, he wants to guarantee both tuition and fees, something that he felt would be the “most ethical and transparent way” to establish a model. He added that the model would be a useful marketing tool to prospective students.
“That’s a very powerful tool that we’ve never had,” Thompson, who is not a member of the board, said.
UO President Michael Schill asked the tuition board to develop a detailed proposal for a potential university model at a TFAB meeting on Jan. 7, 2020, the first board meeting of the year.
During last December's board of trustees meeting, President Schill suggested that the tuition board look into the concept of a guaranteed tuition model, after hearing a presentation from Thompson. Now that the school year has restarted, the board is discussing the pros and cons of adopting such a model and will make an official recommendation to Schill sometime in early February.
During the TFAB meeting, Schill said that administrators are seeing anxiety from parents and students have been worried about being uncertain of how much attending college will cost. Thompson said that one of the things that they’ve also heard from students is how “they didn’t expect tuition to change during their time here.”
Trustees have considered adopting a guaranteed tuition model before. In 2016, the board discussed but ultimately did not establish guaranteed tuition, according to The Register-Guard.
A handful of other universities have adopted the model. At the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado, Boulder, two of UO’s competitors, Thompson said, both programs have a mandatory four-year guaranteed tuition program that includes transfer and part-time students, according to board meeting materials.
“When tuition rates are locked in for five years, families and students have financial predictability,” Thompson said. “They know exactly what the cost of their education is going to be at the time they begin.”
“We’ve had years where 10 students have shown up and years where 110 students have shown up,” Chief Financial Officer Jamie Moffitt, who co-chairs the tuition board, said.
Here is a list of this term’s TFAB meetings, which are open to the public:
Friday, Jan. 17, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Hall Conference Room: Members will discuss undergraduate tuition, debrief from the student forum and consider proposals for housing, health and counseling services.
Friday, Jan. 24, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Hall Conference Room: Members will discuss fee proposals for the EMU, PE and the Rec Center and continue discussing undergraduate tuition.
Thursday, Jan. 30, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., location TBD: Members will discuss undergraduate and graduate tuition proposals.
Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in the Johnson Hall Conference Room: The board will continue discussing undergraduate and graduate tuition.
Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., location TBD: Members will talk about undergraduate tuition.
Thursday, Feb. 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Johnson Hall Conference Room: Members will finalize its recommendations for President Schill.
Monday, Feb. 17, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Johnson Hall Conference Room: Members will have an extra session if needed.
The Daily Emerald will continue to report on the tuition-setting process throughout the year. Questions about tuition? Contact Senior Reporter Ryan Nguyen at [email protected] or Associate News Editor Zack Demars at [email protected].