The longer it takes a student to graduate, the more it costs. Since it costs a student an estimated $13,000 per year to attend by graduating in four years instead of five, a student saves that amount. If they stay six years instead of four it costs them $26,000 more.
Colleges that have flat-rate plans have much higher four-year graduation levels. This raises the number of college graduates in the state more quickly. These four-year graduates also start earning incomes and growing the state's economy sooner than their counterparts.
Finally, revenue gains that colleges receive under the plan can be targeted to giving more scholarship help to those who need it most — working students. With more scholarship money, students working long hours at extra jobs can reduce their long hours and concentrate on their college courses.
It is a win for working students. It's a win for students and families who are trying to pay college costs. It's a win for the state because it will produce more college graduates.
Boren is president of the University of Oklahoma.