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ASG's Guaranteed Tuition Program may freeze fees

By Kathleen Clyburn
On April 29, 2014

The new Guaranteed Tuition Program to prevent the increase in tuition during a student's four years at Miami is in the works, according to student body president Charlie Schreiber and vice president Courtney Bernard.

Seniors Schreiber and Bernard, who began discussing the program in April 2013, worked all summer with Vice President for Financial and Business Services David Creamer to create a plan, which they used in their 2013-2014 presidential platform.

The Associated Student Government (ASG) passed the resolution supporting the program on Tuesday with a unanimous vote.

"The thinking behind this program is not to lower tuition," Schreiber said. "It is to promote certainty and peace-of-mind for students."

With the program, tuition will be raised initially for first-years and transfer students by no more than five or six percent, and will remain at this same rate throughout their time at Miami. According to Schreiber, this will ultimately be a less costly option for students since the university currently raises tuition by about two percent yearly, adding up to approximately eight percent over four years.

"The University of Dayton implemented a similar program and raised their tuition by 11-and-a-half [percent]," he said. "This is an astronomical amount compared to the percentage raise Miami is discussing."

ASG treasurer and co-author of the resolution Nate Lombardi said an initial raise this high is unlikely.

"Miami is in a very comfortable financial situation at the moment," Lombardi said. "It got through the worst of the recession and is in a healthy state now."

The idea for the program came from talking to students about their concerns and realizing many of them have trouble paying tuition, especially when it is raised every year, Bernard said

"There is only so much you can do when it comes to tuition costs," Bernard said. "Tuition will never be lowered, but it can be locked into a certain price for the entirety of time a student is in school."

President of the student senate and co-author of the resolution Nick Miller said the bill will help many students stay in school and graduate.

"It would be beneficial for students to know how much they need to save up," Miller said. "If they're a student employee and they're paying their own way, they don't have to worry about the varying rates of tuition year to year. A number of students leave because they don't feel fiscally secure and this shouldn't happen."

Lombardi said the guarantee would not only allow students and their families to budget in a more structured way, but also be a strategic move for Miami.

"Miami's tuition is relatively high in comparison to other public schools," he said. "This program will increase Miami's competitiveness with other colleges, making it more desirable to prospective students because it will allow more flexibility for students and their family in budgeting."

Key stakeholders and many administrators are in support of the program, Lombardi said.

"They think this would be a healthy thing for Miami's culture and PR," he said. "Problems and disagreements only arise when we start looking at the numbers. Some worry this program will shift too much risk from students to the university."

Schreiber said student support for the program has been amazing.

"Most of the time students ignore legislation and ideas that won't affect their time at the university," he said. "But so many students want to see this passed and implemented to help out future students."

This summer the university wants to conduct research with prospective students and their families to see if this program is desirable.

According to Schreiber, if all goes well with the research and discussions with the Board of Trustees, this program could be implemented in the fall of 2015.

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