Less than five months after the university rolled out the plan, the University of Oklahoma's new flat-rate tuition policy is already paying off, an OU official said Wednesday.
Nick Hathaway, OU's vice president of administration and finance, told the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education the university had 1,000 more students take 15 or more credit hours this year than last fall.
Although it's difficult to say what effect the university could ultimately see, Hathaway said that increase could amount to a 5 percent increase in OU's graduation rates.
Under the policy, any full-time undergraduate student who takes between 12 and 21 credits per semester will pay a flat rate for tuition and fees that is based on the cost for 15 hours per semester during the 2012-13 academic year.
OU officials launched the new flat-rate tuition policy over the summer as a way to encourage students to take 15 hours or more per semester. At the time, officials said the plan would save students money by encouraging them to graduate in four years instead of five or six.
During a June meeting of the OU Board of Regents, university President David Boren said he had been examining the possibility of a flat-rate tuition policy for several months. Other universities, including the University of Texas, Baylor University and Texas A&M University, have similar policies in place.
Most degree programs at the university require 120 credit hours to graduate, Boren said, meaning a student who takes 30 hours per year would be on track to graduate in four years. A student who takes five years to graduate would spend about $13,000 more in tuition, fees and living expenses, Boren said.