“It is about creating a simple, no fee, no asterisk, reliable price for our students and our parents,” Freed-Hardeman University President Joe Wiley said regarding FHU Complete, the new pricing structure, unveiled today to the faculty, staff, students and parents of FHU.
Wiley also announced funding for a new need-based scholarship program. “We recognize the current economic situation makes it difficult for some students to cover the cost of higher education. We trust making additional monies available for those with substantial need will help more students with their college expenses,” he said.
One of the most significant features of the new pricing plan is that students can take as many hours as their academic ability allows for the same cost. Whether a student takes 12 or 21 hours, the cost is the same. A student who passes 16 hours each semester will be able to graduate in eight semesters. A particularly able student may finish in less time, resulting in cost savings, Wiley said.
Course or lab fees are also abolished. “Whether you want to be a nurse, a preacher, an accountant or a scientist, the charge for your courses is the same at Freed-Hardeman University, beginning this fall,” said Wiley.
“When students attend Freed-Hardeman University, their bill will reflect three things: a full-time student charge, room and board. No additional fees will be added,” said Wiley.
Historically, according to Wiley, colleges including Freed-Hardeman, have advertised a price for tuition, room and board, but when students came to campus, they were bombarded by “additional charges” in the form of lab fees, general fees, class fees, matriculation fees, etc., that were not always clearly advertised. Some courses were more expensive than others. The university is moving to eliminate those potential “surprise” expenses for both undergraduate and graduate students.
“One strategy in higher education is to present an attractive and seemingly affordable 'ticket' price and then camouflage significant expenses in hidden costs and course fees that aren't realized until students have moved into the dorm,” said Joe Askew, director of admissions. “This leaves students frustrated, confused, and often in a frenzy to find ways to cover those unexpected expenditures. We are not doing this at FHU. From now on, it is one charge, no hidden costs, no hidden fees, no exceptions.”
Freed-Hardeman considers this to be a “bold move” in pricing. “We found our parents and our students becoming more and more frustrated with the process of advertising one price but adding fees as the student enrolled. Our parents and our students work hard to prepare for college and to prepare a monthly payment plan for the family. The last thing we want to do is add to the stress of college costs and family expenditures. We want to eliminate those frustrations and make it simple. I believe this program will be a huge success. I believe we will see others following suit very soon,” said Wiley.
Additionally, the university has taken the change a step further. The single charge includes many student services in the package. The comprehensive charge, as it is called, will include several upgrades for residential students including HDTV in dorm rooms, free health clinic services with a full-time on-campus MD and RN, personal counselors, two campus fitness centers, enhanced security measures, free movie rentals, free admission to athletic events and plays and enhanced campus wireless services.
“We are going so far as to provide free movies for our students in our movie theatre. They have been paying $2 to go to campus movies. As part of this new program, admission is free,” said Wiley.
The iKnow fee, an expense that allowed FHU to create the acclaimed iKnow Initiative, is also being eliminated. The program, however, will actually be enhanced. Every new student will receive Apple’s iPad. This will help bring the price down for another major college expense, textbooks. Because of the versatility of the iPad, some professors are choosing digital textbooks. Students will still have to purchase books; however, digital textbooks are proving to be much more cost effective than traditional paper books.
“The government, Apple and several other companies such as inkling are trying to make digital textbooks a reality within five years among k-12 schools,” said Mark Scott, vice president of technology and innovation. “Digital textbooks are a reality now at FHU, and our professors are jumping on board.”
The pricing change will make FHU more affordable for some and will pretty much guarantee that the university will maintain its place as one of 15 universities is the Southeast to be considered a “best buy” by U.S. News and World Report.
“We have always been known for our excellence in academics,” said Wiley. “We have also been known as one of the most affordable Christian education experiences. This new pricing structure makes pricing completely transparent to families and students, allowing families to plan more effectively for their students’ college expenses.”
Click here to review the details of FHU Complete