NKU may charge by credit hour

As the economy is in the middle of a recession, Northern Kentucky University has proposed a plan of moving from a fixed rate to a per-credit-hour status.

President James Votruba met with the Board of Regents Jan. 14 to discuss a proposal that would have students paying tuition by the credit hour instead of the current system.

‘In these difficult times, I have always felt NKU needed to move incrementally towards a more equitable, more fair approach,’ he said at the meeting.

In a study conducted by Sue Moore, Vice President of Policy & Budget Planning and Ken Ramey, Vice President of Administration & Finance found that 49 percent of students at NKU take 12 or fewer credits. With the current situation, according to Votruba, ‘the students enrolling in 12 or fewer credits are paying for those taking 16 hours.’

NKU has looked at other colleges and universities that have transitioned from a fixed rate to per credit hour status, including Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Votruba is looking at this change to make tuition equal across the board.

‘One argument has to do with fairness,’ Votruba said. ‘Half of the students enrolling next year, if we go in this direction will not have a tuition increase equal to the cost of living.’

The change to this model will cause students to take a second look as to whether they will drop a course or not.

In the 2007-08 academic year, 35 percent of NKU undergraduate students did not complete all of the hours they had signed up for, according to Ramey.

This will give financial consequences to those that drop a course, where before there was no financial loss to the student when dropping a course. A reason for this is to not lose any tuition revenue for an empty seat in the classroom.

Will this move to per-credit-hour slow graduation down for students?

‘There is no data to support to suggest that,’ Votruba said.

According to the proposal, all full scholarships will not be affected by the change and Enrollment Management is working on what effects this will have on financial aid and partial scholarships.

Ramey and Moore will meet again with Student Government Association on Jan. 26 to discuss student related fees. They will also meet with SGA on Feb. 9 on the proposed tuition rates. Student Government Association President Gabe Cronon sees this proposal as being a ‘massive change.’

Cronon said the administration looks to SGA on issues such as these.

‘But I vote in the direction of the Senate, because I am elected to represent the students, and to the Board of Regents I represent the Senate,’ Cronon said.

As far as whether Cronon is for the decision to move to a per credit hour, he does not have a stance on it because it is lacking a lot of detail at this time.

‘I will get more info about the tuition at an executive meeting on Jan. 23 to look over things,’ he said.

SGA will be holding a special meeting at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Student Governance Room in the Student Union, which will be open to students. It will be a forum for them to voice their opinions on the possible tuition change.

‘I want to hear the student’s opinions on this issue,’ Cronon said. ‘I want SGA to make an informed decision on what road we decide to go.’

The Council on Postsecondary Education will make a decision on tuition rates on March 6 and then the Board of Regents will make its decision on the rates on March 11.