ELYRIA — Stay in school and the tuition will stay the same.
It’s a heck of a promise, but one Lorain County Community College is making in hopes of getting more students to complete associate degree programs sooner.
Trustees of the college unanimously voted Thursday to institute a tuition guarantee for students registering in fall 2014 and spring 2015. The guarantee holds tuition and fee rates for up to three years or until the completion of a degree, whichever comes first.
It’s a pledge the institution is making with the hope more students will make the pledge to complete their education.
“We understand how this can help our students, and hopefully drive or be an incentive to end the stop-start cycle that contributes to some students never finishing,” said Tracy Green, the college’s vice president for strategic and institutional development.
The tuition lock guarantee will be provided to existing part-time students who elect to enroll full-time and new first-time, full-time students. Their tuition and fees will be guaranteed at current rates of $118.34 per credit hour during the time they participate in the program.
“Even though our tuition rates are the second-lowest in the state, we are committed to the success of our students, and this is one way that we can reduce the cost and time required to complete a degree,” said LCCC President Roy Church. “In today’s economy, it’s important to complete a degree to compete for many careers. Statistics show that unemployment rates for college graduates are 30 percent lower than those with only a high school diploma.”
Students will be required to sign a completion pledge that they will maintain continuous enrollment in fall and spring semesters for three years or until degree completion and commit to creating an academic plan with an LCCC success coach by the end of their second semester.
The tuition guarantee was made possible because of language in the state’s biannual budget and a move by Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor John Carey to expand the guarantee to cover community colleges. Locally, Cuyahoga County Community College announced a similar tuition guarantee program for students earlier this year.
Tri-C believes upward of 3,500 hundred of its students will benefit from the program.
LCCC has an enrollment of about 15,000 students — 12,000 at the associate degree level and 3,000 enrolled in the University Partnership.
Current LCCC tuition and fees are $118.34 per credit hour. LCCC also offers a blanket tuition policy to help keep costs affordable. LCCC’s blanket tuition policy allows students to take up to 18 credit hours for the price of 13 credits.