University of the Ozarks Board Votes No Tuition Increase for 2020-21

The University of the Ozarks Board of Trustees on April 25 voted to freeze tuition for the 2020-21 academic year amid the uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic

It is the sixth time in the last eight years that the University has not raised tuition. Since 2013, tuition at Ozarks has risen just 5 percent.

University President Richard Dunsworth said the Board took into consideration the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students and their families in the decision to keep tuition flat.

“Now, more than ever, our decisions need to be mission-driven and focused on accessibility and affordability,” Dunsworth said. “We understand that families are struggling and that there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the future. One of our primary goals has been to reduce the amount of debt for students through controlling the cost of tuition and allocating existing resources, including scholarships, grants and other financial assistance. Our efforts to control costs and improve quality are consistent with the mission and values of the University and are more paramount than ever.”

There were also no changes to the University’s learning material fees and a slight $100 average increase to room and board for the upcoming academic year. In addition, the board approved a revamped model of the Jones Learning Center that will allow the program to reduce its fees by 48 percent, beginning the 2020-21 academic year.

Dunsworth commended the University’s alumni and friends for their support of student scholarships, pointing out that the current Climb Higher Campaign has already raised more than $32 million in scholarship endowment support.

“Our alumni and friends continue to faithfully and generously support the mission of the University by financially supporting out students’ education,” Dunsworth said. “We are extremely blessed to have such caring and engaged alumni and friends who understand the value and importance of an Ozarks education and who want to help our students experience that.”

There are approximately 200 privately funded scholarships available for Ozarks students from alumni and friends and the University awarded nearly $12 million in financial aid to Ozarks students in 2019-20.

U of O’s tuition of $24,950 is more than 30 percent less than the national average of $36,880 for a private, four-year university, according to The College Board’s Trends in College Pricing 2019. Not raising tuition also runs counter to national trends in higher education. According to The College Board, the national average tuition increase was 3.4 percent for private nonprofit universities in 2019-20.