The Post: Parents ‘universally’ support new tuition model, admins say

“Knowing that it’s not going up or down, that’s going to help a lot,” Connie DeLuca, a parent of a prospective OU student, said on a recent campus tour. “That’s going to put us on that plan for the next four years.”

The idea of a guaranteed tuition rate was “universally endorsed” by the Parents Advisory Council — parents of current OU students who provide feedback on campus affairs — Ryan Lombardi, vice president for Student Affairs, said.

“The goal of controlling student cost and reducing student debt is a very proactive concept,” Jackie Triplett, a parent in the council, said in an email. “After personally providing two children of my own tuition to attend OU, I realize that this concept will foster crucial help for families while planning for a college education.”

The parents on the council were “resoundingly positive,” Lombardi said.

“In fact, the comments were: ‘Can you start this now? … I would’ve liked to have been able to plan like this,’” Lombardi said.

But not all parents investing in an OU education endorse the idea.

“I am against such a huge tuition hike,” Margaret Leppert, parent of OU sophomore Abby Leppert, said in a text message. “It made sense that they would raise the rate before locking in, but it was quite a jump.”

Leppert is not alone in this view. OU students held several protests condemning the tuition hikes earlier this year.

Starting Fall 2015, every new first-year or transfer undergraduate student at OU will have a locked-in rate for university fees, including room and board, general fees, Bobcat Student Orientation fees and graduation application fees.

Incoming in-state freshmen will pay a set $11,548 each of the next four years.

The price for current OU students will increase about $200, or 2 percent, from current costs starting next fall, totaling $10,748 in tuition and fees for the entire school year, according to a previous Post report.

Tuition rates for out-of-state students are not yet determined.

“I do think it’s a bold step for us … moving forward, trying to provide that transparency for students and parents,” Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students, said.

OU is one of the first universities in Ohio to pass such a plan, Hall-Jones said.

Institutions such as the University of Dayton have similar guaranteed tuition plans for their students, but Dayton’s costs are comparatively more expensive than OU’s because Dayton is a private university.

Even though tuition has been a controversial topic this year on campus, Undergraduate Admissions has prepared its tour guides to answer any questions or concerns parents may have about the university.

“Undergraduate Admissions student tour guides welcome and expect questions from prospective students and parents on tours,” Kevin Witham, senior associate director for campus visit and off-campus programs, said. “The tour guides are trained to answer questions honestly from their personal experiences on and around campus.”

Lombardi acknowledged the divide between those who support the tuition model and those who oppose it.

“I understand where the protests are coming from, but it’s just not reality,” Lombardi said. “I would think the vast majority of parents are going to say, ‘I would rather just know what it is, and it’s not going to change.’ Not everyone agrees with that, but the parents did.”

This story also appears on The Post