ESU’s Warrior Promise Will Make College More Affordable
Starting this fall, East Stroudsburg University will become the first public university in Pennsylvania to guarantee the same fixed-rate tuition for all four years for degree-seeking undergraduate students.
For incoming freshmen that means the tuition they pay for 2018-2019 will be the same rate as the year they graduate in 2021-2022. Students transferring to ESU will automatically be enrolled in the fixed-rate tuition program, allowing them up to four years at ESU at the same tuition level. Current students on campus will be able to sign up to have their tuition rate remain flat for the rest of their four years.
The program, called the Warrior Promise, is designed to help students and their families plan for college costs by removing the uncertainty of tuition hikes, said David Bousquet, vice president of enrollment management.
“A tuition guarantee provides parents with an assurance that the cost will not increase,” Bousquet said. “It helps them budget and plan for college expenses by providing a guaranteed and predictable cost of attendance.”
The Warrior Promise aims to encourage students to stay in college and graduate in four years.
“Parents will be able to motivate their students to be focused, to take a full-time course load and finish on time,” Bousquet said. Students who attend for more than four years could see modest increases in tuition in their fifth year and beyond.
Currently ESU tuition is $3,746 per semester for in-state undergraduates taking 12-18 credits and $9,365 per semester for out-of-state undergraduate students earning 12-18 credits. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors is expected to set the tuition rate for the coming year in July.
Students need 120 credits to graduate in four years, which averages out to 15 credits per semester.
The fixed rate tuition guarantee will not apply to room and board costs in part because students choose whether to live on or off campus, whether to have roommates, and different meal options.
Bousquet has been explaining the plan to groups of students, faculty and staff on campus. Current students will be contacted on how to sign up for the Warrior Promise once the program is finalized.
So far, the reception to the Warrior Promise has been overwhelmingly positive. In early February, about 150 prospective students and parents visited ESU for a “Campus Day Admissions Program.”
“The Warrior Promise was explained, and attendees were asked if they would be interested, and if they find the program attractive.” Bousquet said. “And without exception their hands shot up. They loved the fact it was predictable, no surprises, it’s transparent. And they feel like they are in control in a way they never expected to be.”
That’s also true for Jahliem Brown, a freshman biology major from Philadelphia, who was the first current ESU student to notify the student enrollment center he wants to sign up for Warrior Promise once it’s available. His father had read about the guaranteed fixed-rate tuition program online and told him to be sure to take advantage of it.
Brown says the Warrior Promise should give him an incentive to graduate on time.
“This is a really, really positive program,” he said.
Currently, Brown is thinking he might want to go to graduate school to study physical therapy so knowing what his undergraduate costs will be up front should make planning easier.
“ESU gives you opportunities,” he said. “If you don’t grab them, you’re missing out.”