Public Notice – University of Memphis Tuition Proposal
Board of Trustees Meeting: December 5, 2018
In our continued efforts toward addressing impediments to access and affordability for all students, the University of Memphis is proposing enhancements to our tuition structure. These proposals will be reviewed at the Board of Trustees meeting on December 5, 2018. To promote transparency in this process and provide an opportunity for comments, we are communicating the details of the proposals in advance of the discussion at the Board meeting.
Recent initiatives towards access and affordability, which have been proven drivers towards student success include:
ACCESS: The University of Memphis has been at the forefront of addressing access to education through innovative programs and non-traditional educational offerings (FedEx LiFE, Finish Line, Accelerated BS/MS, UofM Global, expanded dual enrollment opportunities, new degree offering, etc.)
AFFORDABILITY: The University of Memphis was the only public institution of higher education in Tennessee to not have a tuition increase in two (2) of the last five (5) years and had the lowest rate of average tuition increase (1.7%) in the past five (5) years.
At the September 2018 Board of Trustees meeting, the University instituted a lower national rate for non-resident students, as well as a lower rate for international students. This is an effort to grow our population so we can continue to keep costs low for all students.
As we build upon these themes, we propose three (3) additional initiatives to further address access and affordability barriers for our students
- Implement a Guaranteed Tuition Plan for undergraduate first-time, first-year students beginning in fall 2019.
- Restructure resident tuition rates with a cap on credit hours that are assessed tuition and move to a standard tuition rate for traditional and online courses.
- Explore a flat per credit hour fee that provides day-one access to course materials for General Education courses for all students at a significantly lower cost.
Initiative #1: Implement a Guaranteed Tuition Plan for undergraduate first-time, first-year students beginning in fall 2019.
- This plan would be applied to all first-time, first-year undergraduate resident, non-resident, international, and UofM Global students.
- For fall 2019, the Guaranteed Tuition Plan will be calculated based on the tuition
for the 2018-2019 academic year and adjusted by an inflation factor approved by the
Board of Trustees.
- We propose 2.5% as the initial tuition increase for the 2019-2020 academic year guaranteed tuition rate.
- Incoming first-time, first-year undergraduate students will default to the guaranteed rate plan and are locked into the guaranteed rate for eight (8) consecutive semesters but may opt-out to the variable rate plan.
- A new guaranteed tuition rate will be established for each fall cohort of new first-time, first-year undergraduate students: resident, non-resident, international, and UofM Global.
- The new cohort rate will be available for eight (8) consecutive regular semesters for the undergraduate first-time, first-year students of each ensuing fall semester.
Please note: The Guaranteed Tuition Plan covers tuition only. It does not include costs associated with online course fees, mandatory fees, non-mandatory fees, non-academic fees (housing, meal plans, parking permits, etc.).
Benefits of the plan:
- Allows students and their families to budget earlier and more effectively for educational expenses.
- Provides stable tuition expenses from year-to-year.
- Encourages timely degree completion given the financial incentive of an overall lower cost.
- Reduces student debt.
Initiative #2: Restructure resident tuition rates with a cap on credit hours that are assessed tuition and move to a standard tuition rate for traditional and online courses.
- When the online tuition/fee structure was first implemented, it was modeled after the TN eCampus (formerly RODP)/TNeCampus structure. Tuition/fees for all online courses are assessed separately from the traditional courses.
- Currently, undergraduate resident students taking a blend of traditional and online courses are not able to take advantage of the 80% discount rate offered for traditional courses over the 12 hour cap.
- Since fall 2015, we have seen a 59% increase in blended credit hours from students taking traditional and online courses. Based on the trend, it is expected this population will continue to grow which will inevitably increase our dependence on this tuition revenue stream.
Proposal to rectify this issue and further simplify our tuition structure:
- Set undergraduate per credit hour tuition assessment cap at 12 hours for traditional and online credit hours for residents. Credit hours above 12 are free of charge.
- Graduate traditional and online hours 1-10 will be assessed a flat per credit hour charge for residents. Credit hours above 10 are free of charge.
Benefits of the plan:
- Undergraduate resident students currently taking a blend of 12 traditional and 3 online credit hours will see a tuition reduction of $768, or a 19% discount.
- Once implemented, all full-time resident undergraduate students, regardless of the modality of the courses taken (online or traditional), will only be charged for 12 credit hours. Credit hours above 12 will be free of charge.
- For graduate resident students, all credit hours above 10 will also be free of charge.
- Setting the tuition assessment cap at 12 and 10 credit hours for undergraduate and graduate resident students, respectively, should encourage degree completion.
In order to accomplish this and stay revenue neutral, this translates into a 1.8% tuition rate increase for undergraduate resident students taking 15 student credit hours. These actions do not result in additional net tuition revenue.
Initiative #3: Explore a flat per credit hour fee that provides day-one access to course materials for General Education courses for all students at a significantly lower cost.
The University is also exploring opportunities to reduce the cost of books and course materials with the aim of having initial strategies to begin in fall 2019.