Changes increase affordability, reduce anxiety

The Talon, OC's student newspaper, reported on the university's 2012-13 pricing in its latest edition.

By Kaylan Watkins, courtesy of the Talon

Oklahoma Christian University students breathed a sigh of relief at the recent announcements regarding costs for the upcoming school year.

For the 2012-2013 academic year, the price of tuition will stay the same, student fees will disappear and block pricing will expand to include up to 17 credit hours.

“Affordability has become a very important issue for our students, so we wanted to make a commitment to, as much as possible, help with making Oklahoma Christian affordable,” Bill Goad, executive vice president, said.

According to Risa Forrester, vice president for enrollment management, the conversations leading to these decisions began around December last year.

“We have felt for some time now that we really wanted to look at increasing the block,” Forrester said. “We were thrilled that everyone agreed that it’s a good thing for students, for retention, for timely graduation and for affordability.”

These types of processes begin with discussion among administrators, followed by a proposal and the approval of the Board of Trustees.

Forrester said because the prices will not increase this year, the process was simpler than usual.

When looking at different options for upcoming school years, Goad said it all comes back to what is ultimately best for students.

“We believe that this offers a great value to students looking to pursue a high-quality Christian education,” Goad said.

In addition to providing for the students currently attending the university, Goad said there will be other benefits, such as increased retention, that may occur as a result of these decisions.

More than anything, Forrester expressed a desire to emphasize the dedication administrators have to the students who attend Oklahoma Christian.

“There’s a real commitment here—and I know the students maybe don’t always feel this—to affordability and trying to do things that are helpful to our student families,” Forrester said.

Daniel Battle, a sophomore attending Oklahoma Christian on scholarship, commented on the increased block allowance for classes.

“Before, I was limited to 15 hours due to my scholarship, and now that will change,” Battle said. “I will be able to save money, and that’s great.”

Even students graduating before these changes occur voiced their appreciation for the benefits others will receive.

“I think it is really beneficial for many people,” Lexi Brown, senior, said. “A lot of OC’s requirements mean that we need to take 16 or 17 hours to graduate in four years.”

John Frias, junior, will be eligible next year for the Christian Engineer Scholarship.

“Personally, being on the CES scholarship, it doesn’t really affect me,” Frias said. “But I do appreciate the ability to take more classes at a time.”

The change comes two-and-a-half years after the university implemented the 15-hour cap.

“I think this is a good move, especially for recruiting new students,” Battle said. “This just makes the university a little more appealing.”

Forrester mentions there are many ways in which the university is attempting to help students customize the price of their education.

“We have done some things at the institution to help shape costs and give students more choices regarding their amenities,” Forrester said. “This is so that they can shape costs as it makes sense for them and their family.”

These choices include meal plans, residence halls and the Eagle Bucks accounts.

“I really like that we can do whatever we want with our meal plan now,” Frias said.

With all the changes, Forrester voices one hope for the students affected.

“For current students, I hope that it will mean that they make the most of every semester and take advantage of that increased block,” Forrester said.

Following the recent announcement, most feedback has been positive.

“Alumni have been saying that it’s a great move and are really glad we’re doing this,” Goad said.

Goad insisted the university is dedicated to keeping quality education affordable.

“We are committed to continuing high-quality, Christian education, and we want more and more students to be able to afford it and afford to stay and experience the wonderful things offered,” Goad said.