3345.48 Undergraduate tuition guarantee program.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Cohort" means a group of students who will complete their bachelor's degree requirements and graduate from a state university at the same time. A cohort may include transfer students and other selected undergraduate student academic programs as determined by the board of trustees of a state university.

(2) "Eligible student" means an undergraduate student who:

(a) Is enrolled full-time in a bachelor's degree program at a state university;

(b) Is a resident of this state, as defined by the chancellor of the Ohio board of regents under section 3333.31 of the Revised Code.

(3) "State university" has the same meaning as in section 3345.011 of the Revised Code.

(B) The board of trustees of a state university may establish an undergraduate tuition guarantee program that allows eligible students in the same cohort to pay a fixed rate for general and instructional fees for four years. A board of trustees may include room and board and any additional fees in the program.

If the board of trustees chooses to establish such a program, the board shall adopt rules for the program that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

(1) The number of credit hours required to earn an undergraduate degree in each major;

(2) A guarantee that the general and instructional fees for each student in the cohort shall remain constant for four years so long as the student complies with the requirements of the program, except that, notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the board may increase the guaranteed amount by up to six per cent above what has been charged in the previous academic year one time for the first cohort enrolled under the tuition guarantee program. If the board of trustees determines that economic conditions or other circumstances require an increase for the first cohort of above six per cent, the board shall submit a request to increase the amount by a specified percentage to the chancellor. The chancellor, based on information the chancellor requires from the board of trustees, shall approve or disapprove such a request. Thereafter, the board of trustees may increase the guaranteed amount by up to the sum of the following above what has been charged in the previous academic year one time per subsequent cohort:

(a) The average rate of inflation, as measured by the consumer price index prepared by the bureau of labor statistics of the United States department of labor (all urban consumers, all items), for the previous sixty-month period; and

(b) The percentage amount the general assembly restrains increases on in-state undergraduate instructional and general fees for the applicable fiscal year. If the general assembly does not enact a limit on the increase of in-state undergraduate instructional and general fees, then no limit shall apply under this division for the cohort that first enrolls in any academic year for which the general assembly does not prescribe a limit.

If, beginning with the academic year that starts four years after the effective date of this section, the board of trustees determines that the general and instructional fees charged under the tuition guarantee have fallen significantly lower than those of other state universities, the board of trustees may submit a request to increase the amount charged to a cohort by a specified percentage to the chancellor, who shall approve or disapprove such a request.

(3) A benchmark by which the board sets annual increases in general and instructional fees. This benchmark and any subsequent change to the benchmark shall be subject to approval of the chancellor.

(4) Eligibility requirements for students to participate in the program;

(5) Student rights and privileges under the program;

(6) Consequences to the university for students unable to complete a degree program within four years, as follows:

(a) For a student who could not complete the program in four years due to a lack of available classes or space in classes provided by the university, the university shall provide the necessary course or courses for completion to the student free of charge.

(b) For a student who could not complete the program in four years due to military service or other circumstances beyond a student's control, as determined by the board of trustees, the university shall provide the necessary course or courses for completion to the student at the student's initial cohort rate.

(c) For a student who did not complete the program in four years for any other reason, as determined by the board of trustees, the university shall provide the necessary course or courses for completion to the student at a rate determined through a method established by the board under division (B)(7) of this section.

(7) Guidelines for adjusting a student's annual charges if the student, due to circumstances under the student's control, is unable to complete a degree program within four years;

(8) A requirement that the rules adopted under division (B) of this section be published or posted in the university handbook, course catalog, and web site.

(C) If a board of trustees implements a program under this section, the board shall submit the rules adopted under division (B) of this section to the chancellor for approval before beginning implementation of the program.

The chancellor shall not unreasonably withhold approval of a program if the program conforms in principle with the parameters and guidelines of this section.

(D) A board of trustees of a state university may establish an undergraduate tuition guarantee program for nonresident students.

(E) Within five years after the effective date of this section, the chancellor shall publish on the board of regents web site a report that includes all of the following:

(1) The state universities that have adopted an undergraduate tuition guarantee program under this section;

(2) The details of each undergraduate tuition guarantee program established under this section;

(3) Comparative data, including general and instructional fees, room and board, graduation rates, and retention rates, from all state universities.

History. Added by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.