Students at the University of the Ozarks can expect to pay the same tuition for the upcoming academic year that they paid for the current year.
The University of the Ozarks Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of UofO President Richard Dunsworth that tuition for the 2017-18 academic year remain level at $23,750, the same amount it has been since 2013-14, according to a news release. Dunsworth said the recommendation was approved in the second week in February, with the UofO desiring to be as judicious as possible with every dollar it has, as well as with everything it expects from the families it serves.
"... It's our belief, it's our value system, that if we can continue to offer high quality education without raising the price, we're going to do it," Dunsworth said. "It doesn't mean that we're skimping. It means that we're critical of any expenditure that we make to make sure that we're not asking from anyone more than what we need to provide the education we offer."
The announcement of the continued tuition freeze, the release states, comes less than a year after the UofO eliminated $680 in compulsory student fees. Dunsworth said these included fees for technology, student activities and radio and television media, with UofO realizing it could fund them without the additional charges.
"One of the things that we think about when we think about working with our families, none of us likes hidden costs or things we don't plan for ... so what we've said is, 'We're going to be very, very clean in working with our families, and they're going to see three things: Tuition, room, board and we're going to stop small additional charges and fees and things that add up and cause people to be surprised, and that we're going to, in essence, bundle everything. Here's what it costs to go to school. Let's figure out how you, as a family, can fund that, and when you get here, your student isn't going to be surprised by a fee nobody told you about,'" Dunsworth said.
The board also approved no increases in the student food plans for 2017-18, the release states. However, there will be a slight increase of $200 a year in the room costs for students in the upcoming year. Dunsworth explained this decision was an adjustment to make the pricing for UofO's housing comparable to what other institutions charge for rent. It was also done to help students plan and budget for the future.
"... We're providing opportunities for students to live off campus, and as they make choices on do they live in a residence hall, do they live in an off-campus apartment, do they live in an off-campus house, we didn't want to force our students one way or the other simply over price, so how do we budget housing, how do we help families build a budget for housing for four years so that their student will have choice and we saw that our housing was underpriced, ..." Dunsworth said.
According to The College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2016, UofO’s tuition is nearly 30 percent less than the national average of $33,480 for a private, four-year university, the release states. In addition, not raising tuition runs counter to national trends in higher education, with the national average tuition increase for both private nonprofit and public universities being 3.6 percent in 2016, according to The College Board.