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Ohio Northern unveils ‘Promise’ to make college more affordable

COLUMBUS — Ohio Northern University on Thursday announced a new initiative designed to reduce tuition, lower student debt and help students graduate in four years.

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Called “The Ohio Northern Promise,” which was unveiled during a news conference at the Ohio Statehouse, the initiative stresses affordable academic excellence and hinges on four key elements:

• Lowering tuition from 2013-14 rates by 20 percent to 25 percent. The intent is to bring the tuition sticker price closer to that charged prior to the recession for new Ohio Northern students. Net tuition for current undergraduate students will be frozen next year at 2013-14 rates.

• Offering a four-year graduation guarantee in most undergraduate programs to lower student debt. Students who meet specific standards and expectations for progress toward a four-year degree, but who are unable to graduate in four years, will receive an additional semester (16 credit hours) at no cost for completing the degree.

• Continuing to engage students in high-impact practices to deepen and enrich learning. ONU will continue to offer opportunities such as internships, capstone courses, field experiences, study abroad and experiential learning.

• Sustaining the university’s record of job placement and graduate and professional school admission rates. Since 2006, the average placement rate within six months of commencement is 93 percent.

Ohio Northern President Daniel DiBiasio noted that the current economic downturn has created financial challenges for all sectors of higher education nationally. While ONU has remained academically strong and one of the top-ranked private universities in Ohio and the region, the current pricing approach must change, he said.

The Ohio Northern Promise was developed after a year of meetings with students and faculty to discuss how the institution might sustain academic excellence while making it more affordable.

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