Ohio Northern University announces "The Ohio Northern Promise"

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Responding to unprecedented challenges to students and parents seeking an affordable, high-quality college education, Ohio Northern University on Thursday announced a new initiative designed to reduce tuition, lower student debt and help students graduate in four years.

  • Called "The Ohio Northern Promise," the initiative stresses affordable academic excellence and hinges on four key elements:
  • Lowering tuition from 2013-14 rates by 20 percent to 25 percent. The intent is to bring the tuition sticker price closer to that charged prior to the recession for new Ohio Northern students. Net tuition for current undergraduate students will be frozen next year at 2013-14 rates.
  • Offering a Four-Year Graduation Guarantee in most undergraduate programs to lower student debt. Students who meet specific standards and expectations for progress toward a four-year degree, but who are unable to graduate in four years, will receive an additional semester (16 credit hours) at no cost for completing the degree.
  • Continuing to engage students in high-impact practices to deepen and enrich learning. Ohio Northern will continue to offer opportunities such as internships, capstone courses, field experiences, study abroad and experiential learning.
  • Sustaining the university's excellent record of job placement and graduate and professional school admission rates. Since 2006, the average placement rate within six months of commencement is 93 percent.

Speaking at a news conference at The Ohio Statehouse, Ohio Northern President Daniel DiBiasio noted that the current economic downturn has created financial challenges for all sectors of higher education nationally. While Ohio Northern has remained academically strong and one of the top-ranked private universities in Ohio and the region, the current pricing approach must change, he said.

"The conventional high-tuition and high-financial aid model is not working today and is no longer sustainable," DiBiasio said. "This is a way forward that seeks to make a quality education more available to the best students we can attract. It's all about affordable excellence. "

While a few other colleges and universities have lowered costs in reaction to current economic realities, The Ohio Northern Promise goes further, DiBiasio said. "Ours is also a commitment to value, specifically regarding high-impact practices and student placement," he said.

DiBiasio was joined Thursday by Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey, who called The Ohio Northern Promise a development that will benefit both students and the state of Ohio.

"The core mission of higher education in Ohio is to develop talent for the state's future workforce," Carey said. "Ohio Northern has historically done this by drawing students from Ohio and throughout the nation to its excellent programs in STEM and other areas. When these students graduate and remain in Ohio, they have a direct benefit to the overall Ohio economy. The Ohio Northern Promise continues a tradition of educational excellence while making it more affordable."

John Bishop, chair of Ohio Northern's Board of Trustees, also spoke, saying the initiative "confirms the university's realization that a new model is needed, expanding access to college while insisting on excellence. The Board of Trustees sees The Ohio Northern Promise as a way to achieve affordable excellence for our students, preserve the academic traditions of the university, and show a new way for American higher education."

The Ohio Northern Promise was developed after a year of meetings with students and faculty to discuss how the institution might sustain academic excellence while making it more affordable. On Oct. 5, the Ohio Northern University Board of Trustees approved the plan.

"The Ohio Northern Promise demonstrates that we have listened, thoughtfully considered, and developed a plan that is right for our time and that taps into the national and statewide conversation about college costs, completion, student outcomes and return on investment," DiBiasio said.

Ohio Northern University, located in Ada, is a private, comprehensive university with five colleges. The university offers one of the nation's highest returns on investment, with graduates consistently ranking in the top 10 for median starting salary among private, non-profit colleges and universities.

Ohio Northern University has received numerous accolades for its degree programs, ranking second among Midwest regional colleges according to U.S. News & World Report, No. 37 among baccalaureate colleges according to Washington Monthly's College Rankings and one of the nation's top schools in The Princeton Review's annual college guide. It has been listed in Colleges of Distinction, a guide that profiles America's most distinguished teaching-centered colleges and universities. For more information, visit http://www.onu.edu/