The university will implement a block tuition plan beginning in fall 2012, Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, told members of faculty and staff yesterday.
“It not only improves the affordability of a degree, but it provides additional flexibility for students,” said Schubert.
Under the new block tuition plan, students can take a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 36 hours per year for one price, including general fees. Students will be able to split their hours over both semesters, as well as in summer. Many universities, including the majority of those ACU competes with most heavily, have block tuition plans.
Kevin Campbell, chief enrollment officer, proposed the change in tuition to Schubert and other administrators.
“It is designed to reduce the cost of a degree and to ensure that students have every bit of resources available to graduate on time,” Campbell said.
He says the administration hopes to make ACU more affordable for students and encourage them to graduate in four years. The concept of affordability, graduation rate and student debt have been ongoing for years and years, Campbell said. Block tuition benefits the university because it allows for more reliable budgeting and more consistent revenue based on the number of students enrolled.
To get a perspective from students on the tuition block, Campbell said he consulted Students’ Association president Connor Best, senior political science major from Sacramento, Calif., and other SA members.
“They’ve made some recommendations to make sure that we’ve thought through it,” Campbell said.
Best believes the new tuition plan is an improvement from the current plan.
“I believe [the tuition plan] have a very positive impact on the student body,” Best said. “Students who otherwise could not attend ACU will, hopefully, be able to come and take the full 36 hours per year while only paying for 30 hours and graduate early.”
Campbell said students can take full advantage of the yearly tuition block by taking courses during the summer, which will be covered by spring tuition.To help students take full advantage of the new tuition block, ACU plans to offer more summer online courses, mainly for students needing to return home during the summer months.Â Students will also be able use their hours toward ACU Study Abroad. Any additional fees will not be included in the block plan.
“It appears to be a very good plan,” Campbell said. “We edited it quite a bit to make sure this plan was as good as it sounded.”
Kevin Roberts, associate vice president for operations, says that the change will not have a dramatic effect on the university’s budget.
“There’s a chance that if students take full advantage of the block, that is actually less hours that we’ve sold,” Roberts said.
Roberts said that the implementation of a tuition block is a response to “a burning desire to make the cost of education more affordable and to move students faster through to graduation.”
Other universities are already operating on a tuition block. Some of these include: University of Texas at Austin; Texas A&M; Texas Christian University; Southern Methodist University; Pepperdine; and Lipscomb. These universities utilize a semester tuition block, rather than a year-long tuition block, which ACU plans to implement.