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The Tuition and Fee Advisory Board usually meets in Johnson Hall, but will hold a tuition forum for students Tuesday in the EMU Redwood Auditorium. (Henry Ward/Daily Emerald)

Students and administrators discussed the benefits and drawbacks of establishing guaranteed tuition at a forum on Tuesday.

What is guaranteed tuition? The guaranteed tuition model, proposed by UO enrollment director Dr. Roger Thompson at a board of trustees meeting last December, would mean that undergraduate students pay the same tuition rate from year to year, starting the year they enter.

(Graduate programs use several different tuition rates, so the model would not apply to graduate students.) 

Why you should care: Tuition has increased eight times in the last decade. This model, used at schools such as the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado, Bolder, could mean students won’t face annual tuition hikes – and, in Thompson’s words, be “an incredibly powerful message” in marketing for prospective students.

What administrators are saying: At tonight’s student forum, members of the Tuition and Fee Advisory Board presented a condensed version of the information discussed at last term’s TFAB meetings: how the school sets tuition and fees, basic metrics outlining the UO budget and some of the tentative parameters the board is considering.

“When tuition rates are locked in for five years, families and students have financial predictability,” Thompson said at a Jan. 7 TFAB meeting. “They know exactly what the cost of their education is going to be at the time they begin.”

What students said: About 70 people attended the annual forum, hosted in the EMU Redwood Auditorium from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

“I came here to represent the interests of the hall and stay informed,” Michael Yoo, a first-year environmental science and planning, public policy and management student and the president of hall government in Global Scholars Hall, said. “I can let my team know what the news was.”

“I have younger siblings who are getting ready to graduate, so I’m interested in [guaranteed tuition] and wanting to see that happen so that you don’t have to guess about how much more tuition increases,” Ryan Laws, a sophomore political science and environmental studies double-major, said.

“Every time I hear a discussion about tuition on campus, it just makes me angrier and angrier. It’s not something that students should stress about,” Alex Torch Pinski, a sophomore psychology and biochemistry student, said. “We should be enjoying college and not worrying about the financial burden of school, and if we can have a say in it, we should have a say. Students, when we’re here, we always complain but never actually do anything or say something, and I didn’t want to be someone who just complained anymore.”

What happens next: The 18-member board, after weekly discussions, will make recommendations on tuition and fee adjustments to UO President Michael Schill in early February. Schill will then make a recommendation to the board of trustees in early March.

TFAB meetings are open to the public. Upcoming meetings:

  • 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 News Reporter Ryan Nguyen at [email protected] or Associate News Editor Zack Demars at [email protected].