Duke It Out: Flat Rate Tuition

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman (unless she happens to be charging at us with her fists raised), so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like social media blackout!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

One of the big buzz topics surrounding colleges in the last couple of years has been an administrative push to get everyone to graduate “on time” – as in, the four year model. Florida’s university system thinks they might have found the answer – as a number of other colleges have – in “block tuition”. Block tuition is basically just a flat rate system where every student pays a set price for a year or semester, regardless of how many credit hours they take. I can see some serious advantages to this program – that might be completely outweighed by the disadvantages.

On the one hand, anybody taking a heavy course load¬†essentially gets a couple of free classes since most block tuition systems are set up around 15 credit hours. Anyone who’s already taking 18 credits, then, is getting a break on her education. Also, somebody who might want to graduate earlier could possibly get a lot of their credits packed into a year without having to pay extra – awesome! The system obviously works because it’s become a norm for private universities along with some big names like the University of Texas at Austin and UCLA.

The downside, though,¬†is that anyone who doesn’t – or can’t – take the set number of credit hours is totally getting screwed. It’s one thing for people who just won’t get off their ass and sign up for an extra class, but it’s a different deal for someone who, say, has to have a job, or has other family commitments and just can’t fit that many hours into their schedule. Is it fair that they should have to pay extra for classes they aren’t taking? And isn’t this essentially a way to have a tuition hike without saying they’re charging more for tuition?

And what about those second semester seniors with only 8 credits left to graduate who take class two days a week and savor their final moments of college for the rest of the time? Has anyone thought about them!?

What do you think? Is block tuition a great idea? Or is flat rate just a way to rip off students? Does your school already have block tuition – what’s it like? Duke it out, ladies!

Candy Dish: Betty is so Bad!
Candy Dish: Betty is so Bad!
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