Tuition Guarantee Is Pleasant Surprise for Parents of Incoming Freshmen

Heather Hicks is quick to admit the process of sending her 18-year-old twins to college in the fall has been a bit daunting.

First the selection process, then figuring out the costs – times two – has taken a lot of work and planning, the Middletown resident said.

“It’s a scary thing for parents who have never done this before,” said Mrs. Hicks, whose twins, Hunter and Hannah, will graduate later this spring from Madison High School in Middletown south of Dayton.

That is why the move by the Kent State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday to adopt a Tuition Guarantee for incoming freshmen was welcome news to Mrs. Hicks.

Hannah Hicks will begin at Kent State in the 2018 Fall Semester as part of Honors College, to study fine art and illustration.

“To know the costs are locked in is peace of mind for me,” Mrs. Hicks said. “It means a great deal to me because I’ve got two college tuitions to come up with.”

Kent State’s Tuition Guarantee freezes undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, housing and meal plan costs for a four-year period for Ohio freshmen that begin at any of the Kent State campuses. All campuses are included in the plan, so there are no limitations on where a student takes classes.

Tuition for new, in-state freshmen enrolling for the 2018 Fall Semester will be frozen for four years at $5,306 per semester for 12-18 credit hours. The cost of a standard two-person room and basic meal plan also will be locked in at $5,681 per semester.

Hicks’ daughter Hannah debated other art schools before deciding on Kent State, she said, in large part because it is so affordable.

“We were very impressed with Kent’s art department, and the campus,” Mrs. Hicks said.

With two children heading to college at the same time, Mrs. Hicks said she and her husband, Neil, realized their twins would have to take out student loans to help pay for some of their schooling. Son Hunter plans to study engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Mrs. Hicks said knowing that she was going to graduate with debt gave her daughter serious pause when she considered the $50,000 annual cost of the Savannah College of Art and Design, another school she was considering, compared to Kent State’s $21,000 annual cost.  

“Kent is more affordable,” Mrs. Hicks said. “(Hannah) is very excited.”

Heather Isaly of Mogadore, whose daughter, Alayna, will be a freshman at Kent in August, also was surprised and pleased with the board’s action to institute the Tuition Guarantee.

“I wasn’t aware of this when we toured, so that’s great,” said Mrs. Isaly.

Alayna Isaly will graduate from Mogadore High School this spring and was accepted into Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services for the 2018 Fall Semester. She plans to become a teacher.

Because Mogadore is just 10 miles from Kent, Alayna intends to live at home and commute to school, which will save the cost of room and board, Mrs. Isaly explained.

She said her daughter already has received some scholarships to help with tuition, so knowing that tuition and fees will remain constant for four years will make for realistic budgeting for the future for her and her husband, Brad, particularly with another child heading to college the following year.

Son Ben is a junior at Mogadore High School.

“We’ll have two in college at the same time,” she said, “But we’ll get through it. We’ve got to do it.”

The Tuition Guarantee aligns with Kent State’s strategic plan, which makes students the number one priority. The plan also delivers on the university’s goal of offering a predictable and stable pricing structure for students and their families.

Trustees approved the initial framework for the Tuition Guarantee plan in December. Wednesday’s action set the per semester, four-year rates for tuition, fees, room and board.

The Board’s passage of these rates equals a 4.96 percent increase over current rates. 

The current state budget does not permit state universities to raise tuition costs, unless universities agree to guarantee the amount for four years; the budget caps the increase at 6 percent.

Other state universities, including Youngstown State, Ohio University, Cleveland State and Ohio State have approved similar tuition freeze plans.


POSTED: Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 11:09am
UPDATED: Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 2:21pm
Lisa Abraham