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New OHIO Guarantee+ includes all 11 Business Majors; will Minimize Time-to-Graduation

Monday, February 24 2020 02:00pm

Last month Ohio University expanded its comprehensive fixed tuition to include on-time and on-plan graduation, and lifelong post-graduation benefits for every incoming #BusinessBobcat.

The word “first” is often associated with Ohio University. It was the first to be founded by an act of Congress and the first university founded in the state of Ohio. More than 210 years after its creation, Ohio University also became the first institution in the state to lock undergraduate students’ tuition and fees.

But it was only a month ago that Ohio University established another first. Through the expansion of its original commitment to affordability and cost transparency, OHIO became the first university in the state to back up its promises through the OHIO Guarantee+ program.

Starting fall 2020, freshmen enrolling in any of OHIO’s 11 business majors can participate in OHIO Guarantee+. Students will automatically receive a comprehensive guarantee for housing, dining, tuition, and fees for 12 consecutive semesters (including summers). The OHIO Guarantee+ Graduation Plan -- which students will develop and finish by working with advisors -- means they'll graduate on time (or OHIO will make it right). Students will also have lifelong access to post-graduation career services, the Bobcat Mentorship Network, and select alumni-only scholarships to continue their OHIO education. The program is expected not only to reimagine the business student experience, but also deliver a real return on the investment in an OHIO education.

OHIO Guarantee+ means all future undergraduate business students at Ohio University will: 1) automatically receive a comprehensive guarantee for housing, dining, tuition, and fees for 12 consecutive semesters. 2) graduate on time by working with advisors to develop and finish an individualized graduation plan (or we’ll make it right). 3) have lifelong access to post-graduation career services, the Bobcat Mentorship Network, and alumni-only scholarships to continue your education.

“This has been a significant undertaking by the University community and the College of Business,” said Hugh Sherman, Corlett Chair of Strategy and dean of the business school. “We’re excited to partner with students, create opportunities for them to explore their passions, and help them develop a portfolio of knowledge and experiences that will set them in their careers."

As part of the graduation planning process, students will work together with an advisor to develop a personalized plan of study, and then commit to finishing on time and on plan. The University has announced that if a student meets all of the obligations but cannot graduate as planned because the University fails to offer the necessary courses or otherwise does not fulfill its own commitments, OHIO will find a way to make it right, including appropriate course substitutions or covering the tuition and fees of any additional required courses, if necessary.

“Over the last decade, the College of Business has significantly invested in college-specific student support and career coaching resources,” Sherman added. “Students come first, and we take a unique approach to make sure we keep our promises and that students are successful.”

Since 2015, OHIO’s College of Business has offered combined academic advising and career coaching as part of the college’s Career & Student Success Center. This means that students have unparalleled support during their four years in Copeland Hall. The results have served as a proof of concept for other programs on campus. Since implementing its model, the college’s graduation rate has improved by 8% and retention of first-year students also increased 3.5%.

Jennifer Murphy, the college’s assistant dean of career management and student success since 2014, also noted the impact on the student experience. “We’ve been intentional about building alumni networking, professional development, experiential learning, and co-curricular programming into the overall experience,” she said. “We work together to build a personalized plan and then touch base every semester to make sure that students are meeting their goals.”

Murphy added that in addition to improved retention rates, career outcomes also have improved. “Employers love our graduates,” she said. “Over the last five years, 77% of our graduates have been employed or attended graduate school, at the time of graduation. After 90 days it jumps to 90%. And this isn’t just a small sample of individuals; we know this about 97% of our graduates.”

OHIO Guarantee+ also takes graduates’ future career development needs into account. For alumni who may need assistance with interview preparation or leadership coaching, the University will offer lifelong access to career services, workshops, and the Bobcat Mentorship Network. The program will also offer alumni-only scholarships to programs like OHIO’s Professional MBA for Bobcats who are looking to refresh or expand their skillsets and take their educational pursuits to the next level.

Murphy shared that while OHIO Guarantee+ on-time graduation planning will only be available for freshmen entering next fall, fixed tuition and fees lifelong benefits are immediately available to students and alumni. She also added that the University plans to phase all undergraduate programs into the guarantee by fall 2022.

For additional information and details about OHIO Guarantee+, visit ohio.edu/guarantee.