BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


Student Financial Aid Director Craig Cornell (right) advises Justin Randolph, a second-year graduate student majoring in vocal performance.

Student Financial Aid Director Craig Cornell (right) advises Justin Randolph, a second-year graduate student majoring in vocal performance.

 

BGSU adds tuition 'lock' to aid plans for making college affordable

When Mark Twain said the only two certain things in life are death and taxes, he hadn’t heard of BGSU’s new Tuition Certainty Award.

Designed to help families plan for getting their children through college, the need-based program guarantees qualified students the same tuition rate for four years. Freshmen entering this fall will be the first to be eligible.

“We are unique in Ohio to offer this plan,” said Craig Cornell, student financial aid director. “We want to keep students focused and moving steadily toward graduation by giving their families some tuition certainty.”

To qualify, students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average by the end of each spring term, complete 30 or more credit hours per year and have high need—defined as an expected family contribution of $6,000 or less as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The award is equal to any tuition increases each year.

In its final report, the governor’s Commission on Higher Education and the Economy last year called for higher education institutions to give families assurance that they could plan with certainty to meet their college costs, Cornell pointed out. “This is in part our response to that need,” he said.

“The BGSU Tuition Certainty program is another example of our desire to keep a BGSU education within reach of all Ohioans,” said Admissions Director Gary Swegan.

Success Program goes nationwide
The Tuition Certainty Award is one of several initiatives by BGSU to meet students’ financial needs in the face of rising costs and sharply declining state support of higher education.

Another new advance for fall 2006 is the BGSU Success Program for out-of-state students, through which qualifying students will pay only half the usual out-of-state surcharge, now $3,654 a year.

Building upon the success of the current Michigan Success Program and the previously announced Illinois Success Program, the University will open the program to students nationwide. “It even includes Puerto Rico,” Cornell said.

To be eligible, entering students must have at least a 3.0 cumulative high school grade point average or a score of 21 or higher on the ACT or 1,000 or higher on the SAT. Regularly admitted, full-time students, including transfer students, may take advantage of this program.

Signature Loan best deal in private lending
All these programs are in addition to the University’s Signature Loan that went into effect this fall. A one-of-a-kind private loan, “it’s the best in the country of its kind that I am aware of,” Cornell said.

BGSU was able to negotiate the loan program with the SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae), the nation’s largest provider of private loans for higher education. With no fees and interest rates as low as prime minus 1.5 percent, it’s “currently better than the federal rates,” Cornell said.

Cornell and his staff developed the loan program in response to the growing number of middle-income families applying for private loans.

“We said, ‘Let’s get the best deal we can for our students,’” Cornell said. Using the Signature Loan, the average Bowling Green student who borrows over four years can save $7,000 in repayment over the life of the loan, he calculated.

Ån excellent choice for adult learners and others who cannot attend college full or even part time, the Signature Loan requires only that borrowers take one credit hour per semester.

“The BGSU Signature Loan will absolutely be the difference for many families in affording a Bowling Green education,” Swegan said.

One of the reasons BGSU was able to negotiate such a favorable interest rate is the strong history of timely loan repayment among its students and alumni, Cornell said.

To find out more about the private loan, visit www.bgsu.edu/offices/sfa/signature.html.

The best investment
University financial aid staff and upper administration members have worked hard to develop an array of offerings for students, Cornell said. “They are the result of a lot of strategic planning,” he explained.

“People are often surprised at just how much money we give in student aid,” he added, pointing to the nearly $172 million awarded in academic year 2004-05. Compared to this year’s budget of $243 million for the entire University, it is a significant component, he pointed out.

“These new programs, in conjunction with those already in place, uniquely position BGSU among peer institutions in Ohio,” Swegan said. “They make a bold statement about our desire to maintain the value of a BGSU education.”

“The reality is that higher education is expensive, but it’s still the best investment anyone can make,” Cornell concluded.
February 20, 2006