When Brett Turner was considering which college to attend, he had three requirements: It had to be located in the western half of the United States, offer an excellent engineering program and have a robust athletics program with plenty of school spirit.
The University of Arizona delivered in all three of those areas. An added bonus: the promise of no tuition increases during Turner's expected four years on campus.
Turner, who started at the UA this semester, is part of the largest freshman class in University history – more than 7,800 strong. He's also part of the first class of students to enjoy the security provided by the UA's Guaranteed Tuition Plan.
The plan assures that freshmen and transfer students starting at the UA this fall will see no increase in base tuition rates for eight consecutive semesters.
For students such as the 18-year-old Turner – who comes to the UA from Santa Cruz, California – predictable tuition offers financial peace of mind.
"The fact that the UA has this program is good for current and prospective students," said Turner, who is paying for college through a combination of scholarship money, student loans and support from his parents.
"It's very encouraging for students coming in who may be on the edge financially, especially for those paying out-of-state tuition," he said.
Under the Guaranteed Tuition Plan, resident undergraduate students pay $9,952 in base tuition annually, and nonresident undergraduates pay $28,416. Those rates are locked in through the 2017-18 academic year.
The plan aligns with one of the key goals of the UA's Never Settle strategic academic and business plan: to keep a UA education affordable for qualified students. The plan's four-year structure also serves as an incentive for students to graduate in a timely manner.
"We are committed to keeping a UA education as predictable as possible," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "We want our students to focus their energy on their studies and on becoming real-world ready. By offering tuition rates that are fixed for four years, we hope to help them keep that focus and graduate in four years, without worrying about tuition increases during their studies."
Stable tuition rates also provide a welcome guarantee for parents of UA students, including Turner's mom, Clara.
"I love the Guaranteed Tuition Plan. I am a single mom and am sharing the cost of Brett's tuition and college expenses with his dad," Clara Turner said. "Knowing the tuition for four years is awesome for me because it enables me to plan my portion. I now know a stable, consistent amount that I can put in my budget each year. Not knowing for me was going to be a bit stressful, as I am a planner."
Approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in the spring, the UA's Guaranteed Tuition Plan is mandatory for all of this year's incoming students, who are automatically enrolled. The program is optional for continuing undergraduates. Tuition rates for continuing students not enrolled in the plan are slightly less – $9,576 for resident undergraduates and $27,374 for nonresident undergraduates. However, those rates are not guaranteed in the future.
UA officials worked with undergraduate and graduate students to create the Guaranteed Tuition Plan. More information and answers to frequently asked questions about the plan are available on the UA Bursar's Office website.