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Old Dominion University Will Freeze In-State Undergraduate Tuition for the 2019-2020 School Year

By Harry Minium

The Board of Visitors on Thursday unanimously approved President John R. Broderick's recommendation that the University accept a proposal from the General Assembly and governor to freeze tuition. In return, the Commonwealth will increase ODU's funding by $3.1 million.

Tuition will remain at $356 per hour for in-state undergraduates and $250 for active-duty personnel.

Three students spoke to the board before the vote, urging approval of the freeze.

Senior Logan Kenison said he chose ODU because it is one of the most affordable colleges in Virginia, but he's still struggling to stay in college.

"When I heard you were going to be considering a tuition freeze, I was very pleased," he said. "It will be helpful to give students a break from tuition increases."

Broderick said he was mindful of the struggles of students like Kenison in making his recommendation.

"The affordability of a college education has been something we've been sensitive to for many years," he said. "We obviously believe this is the right thing to do.

"More than 8,000 of our students are eligible for Pell Grants. So many of our students have experienced the same struggles that Logan has experienced.

"We're focused on making sure that Old Dominion University remains as affordable as possible while continuing to offer an outstanding educational experience for our students," Broderick said.

ODU has long had the lowest tuition of the doctoral institutions in Virginia, and also is less expensive than many other four-year schools.

"While we are a national leader in resilience, cybersecurity, engineering and other areas, we recognize that many of our students have financial challenges," said Lisa B. Smith, rector of the Board of Visitors.

Old Dominion is in the midst of a $250 million fundraising campaign, which will provide $100 million for scholarship aid. Alonzo Brandon, vice president for university advancement, announced in January that officials had raised more than $130 million.

Old Dominion increased tuition and fees for out-of-state and graduate students. The University also approved a 3.4 percent increase in auxiliary fees, which will cost a student taking 15 hours of classes per semester an additional $100 per year.

In other actions:

* The board approved renaming the Department of Music the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music.

Diehn was a German composer who left the University a substantial bequest in 1995, including his original manuscript of compositions. Diehn Fund advisers have also made substantial financial contributions to the University.

* The board approved four new bachelor's degrees to be offered by the Darden College of Education and Professional Studies - in early childhood education, elementary education, special education, and career and technical education - and a new bachelor's degree in graphic design.

In all, ODU will offer 12 new programs by the fall of 2020. The seven others include three bachelor's degrees - in cyberscurity. public health and career and technical training - and four master's degress - in athletic training, library and information studies, data sciences and analytics, and public health.

* The board appointed new student representatives to various boards.

Stephen Greiling of Chesapeake will be the representative to ODU's Board of Visitors, and Ethan Crouson will be the representative to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia's Student Advisory Committee. Dashawn Roberts will be on the Student Engagement and Enrollment Services Leadership Council.

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