FHU Complete, the university’s new “one price, no fees” plan, means that Kara Hambelton can graduate on time with dual degrees in two very diverse fields. The sophomore from Gainesville, Mo., is seeking degrees in both chemistry and arts and humanities.
One of the most significant features of FHU Complete is that students can take as many hours as their academic ability allows, without paying for extra hours above a block charge. Whether a student takes 12 or 21 hours, the charge is the same. Any student who passes 16 hours each semester will be able to graduate in eight semesters, while those students who are particularly driven may finish in less time, resulting in even greater financial savings.
FHU Complete has done away with all fees across campus, including additional course or lab fees for various classes. Whether one is preparing to become a nurse, a preacher, an accountant, or a teacher, the charge for the degree is the same at Freed-Hardeman. This is particularly meaningful for Hambelton, who takes approximately 20 hours each semester, with many of those hours dedicated to science courses. Before, each course would have involved an individual lab fee for supplies and equipment, but now these sections are the same cost as all other classes across campus.
Hambelton is able to take classes toward both of her degrees for the one price published in the university catalog. Students taking a comparable course load save between $2,500 and $3,000 each semester over the previous pricing structure of charging per credit hour. In fact, under FHU Complete, the average number of hours taken by students has increased by two hours campus-wide. That may not sound like it matters, but when compared to the previous pricing structure the average student is saving $1,126 per semester under FHU Complete.
Another advantage of FHU Complete is that students are more driven to complete their degrees in a timely manner. According to Ginger Young, director of academic services, students are meeting with their advisors and are asking for help in planning a track to complete their degrees in four years, ultimately saving themselves time and money.
FHU Complete benefits students who are headed abroad as well. Students who participate in FHU’s study abroad program in Belgium and enroll in 12 hours find they only have to pay $358 more than they would if they were in Henderson, plus any spending money and expenses incurred in free travel. Hambelton plans to take advantage of that opportunity by travelling to Belgium in the spring semester.
One of the main goals of FHU Complete, according to FHU President Joe Wiley, was to make the billing system simple and transparent. When students attend Freed-Hardeman University, their bill reflects three things: a full-time student charge, room, and board. No additional fees are added… No surprises,” he said. Parents and students can know before registration how much they will be required to pay.
Director of Admissions Joe Askew commented on this billing confusion at other institutions. “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 dorms. Students are frustrated, confused, and often in a frenzy to find a way to cover unexpected expenditures,” he said. FHU Complete offers one charge, no hidden costs, no surprise fees, no exceptions.
Hambelton appreciates the simplicity offered by FHU Complete. “I’ve read through all those pages of fees some schools have,” she said. “It is so much easier to read our bill than one that has a variety of fees and different charges.”
Although she needs 150 hours of credit to attain her double major, Hambelton has not restricted her college life to academics. She participates in the university’s honors program, a social club, and a professional club. She even finds time to watch Mizzou football—on HDTV in the dorm, also included in FHU Complete.