Hello ONU Parents! During this holiday season, we give thanks for our dedicated parents who support their students in so many ways. This edition of Northern Parents News takes a look at The Ohio Northern Promise, the Social Media Buzz among college students, Polar Careers and Global Academic Initiatives in action and underway at ONU. Wishing you all good things during this special time of year.
"Promising Intitiatives" ... ONU Polar Parents React
Rising college costs, particularly tuition, have been a major focus in assessing trends in higher education for a good number of years. How can families keep pace, especially in a post-recession world where uncertainties still linger? Ohio Northern took this ongoing concern seriously enough to study and evaluate where its pricing and financial aid structure was positioned. After months of analysis and feedback from a variety of audiences, ONU determined it was well positioned to ensure that higher education would remain accessible and affordable for bright young students and their families.
The Ohio Northern Promise is a set of initiatives to make an ONU education more affordable, to reduce student loan debt, to sustain academic quality, and to prepare students for career success. Several members of the ONU Parent Advisory Council have offered their perspective regarding Ohio Northern's plan:
"For the record, I believe the various assumptions regarding post-recession trends are correct. This wasn't an ordinary recession, and we are experiencing a 'new' normal. Daring to make changes is warranted. It is apparent a 'sea change' is occurring regarding a college education and the return on that investment. The household incomes that have not rebounded during any recovery at hand would say that just 'tinkering at the edges' regarding stated tuition is not a sustainable solution/course of action. We, as parents, think of our own budgets, what the net cost is and how it impacts our own lives. We encouraged our son, Calvin, to choose the college he felt was the best fit and offered the best opportunity. For this reason, should net costs stay relatively stable, it would/should be better during beginning planning rather than later."
Bob King, South Bend, Ind.
"I have always known that ONU is competitive in cost and offers an excellent education, including personalized attention for its students. Now, with the launch of The Ohio Northern Promise, the University has made it really clear that students can afford to get the education they want and need. I have two students attending ONU, a son and a daughter in the College of Arts & Sciences, and I would highly recommend having other students apply!"
Deborah Campbell, Hilliard, Ohio
"As parents, we were glad to see the University approve The Ohio Northern Promise proposal. For Nancy and I, the stabilizing of the tuition for pharmacy will allow for better planning, especially with Caitlin going into her sixth year. The 'unknown' of where all of the pharmacy rotations will take place and 'knowing' what the tuition is will allow for better financial planning. This was a big step by the University ... to help keep the ONU excellence ... affordable."
Mark and Nancy Sabol, Canfield, Ohio
As The Ohio Northern Promise gains greater exposure, the Office of Financial Aid has been helping parents understand the basic aspects by fielding additional questions as they arise. Melanie Weaver, ONU's director of financial aid, offers some clarifications regarding this special pricing program:
How does The Ohio Northern Promise tuition reset benefit my student? All undergraduate returning students will experience a freeze in their net tuition price from 2013-14 to 2014-15. This means that students will not experience an increase in tuition next year as has traditionally occurred. There have been 3-4 percent tuition increases annually, or roughly $1,000 per student. The freeze in net tuition assumes the family's key financial circumstances have remained relatively constant/stable. Individual assessments/evaluations still occur through the annual filing of the FASFA. Students moving into a graduate program may see an increase, but this would be less than if the University had implemented an increase in tuition. Every student who received financial aid in 2013-14 received an email and a letter from the aid office that explained the difference in their tuition costs for this year and next.
I thought my student's scholarship was guaranteed for four years. Why are you reducing it? We are switching from a high-tuition/high-financial aid model to one that is more transparent and gives families a truer notion about costs at Ohio Northern. This means that current scholarships will be adjusted to reflect the reset in tuition costs. Even though scholarships are changing, the family's net cost (after scholarships and grants) for tuition will not change.
Are you taking scholarship money from my student and giving it to new freshmen next year? New student scholarships have changed and have been reduced to reflect our new lower tuition costs. Overall, freshmen will see similar net tuition costs compared to those of continuing students.
Will we see tuition increases in future years? ONU recognizes that any future tuition increases must be minimal (between 1-4 percent). The good news is that any increases will be based on a lower initial tuition level, therefore resulting in a smaller dollar increase.
Students and Social Media: Parental "Awareness" Advised
Timely advice regarding the use of social media among college students can be valuable and even life changing. ONU's published expert Dr. Alisa Agozzino ,associate professor of public relations, has identified five important points regarding the use of social media for parents to understand:
I envy my history colleagues who are at least teaching something that isn't changing versus something that is constantly changing. Teaching social media is an ever-changing role. No two semesters are the same, plus it is tough to find a textbook that isn't outdated by the time it is printed. Since social media is so vast, it is challenging to be an expert. So, how do we, as parents, wrap our minds around this ever-changing technology? I thought I would highlight five must-know facts about the use of social media. No matter how many points resonate with you (and your student), please take time to have a discussion about how your student is using social media.
The Internet lives forever It might seem funny now, but when it is time to interview for that internship or first job, the picture of the student doing something goofy or immature sends a very different message than the student who is hanging out smiling with friends in their residence hall room. Students have told me before that they have their profile's privacy settings set so only "close" friends can see it. However, sometimes that close friend comments and now their friends (real: professors, potential employers, said friend's grandparents) can see the post, too. Not exactly whom or what you had in mind, right?
Geotagging can be dangerous While it is fun to check in on social media platforms, it can be downright dangerous. Geotagging is where you tag your location within the social media post. The danger lies in knowing exactly where and when you are in that location. By simply monitoring social media platforms for a few days, stalkers are able to pinpoint your exact location, down to latitude and longitude on a map. This could alert strangers to your home or school or simply tell them when you are away on vacation.
Learn about social media tools It is tough as a parent to keep up with everything that is going on with your student when they are at school. Social media can be a way to keep up with your student without bugging them every minute. Do you have a Facebook or Twitter account? Have you looked into Vine or Snapchat? Maybe having an account isn't always necessary, but at least knowing of the tools that students around the globe are using will help to put you in the "know."
The success of ONU students once they leave the University is paramount when building reputation and ensuring return on the college investment. The Polar Careers office at ONU recently announced a record 94 percent placement rate after six months for students who graduated in 2013. This new mark is a 2 percent increase over the previous year. Additionally, 96 percent of the class of 2013 participated in the report, itself an increase of 3 percent from the previous year.
Justin Courtney, director of Polar Careers at ONU, said, "These numbers are a reflection of the determination of our students, coupled with the diligent efforts of the faculty and staff to prepare students beyond the classroom."
It is important for parents to encourage their students to take advantage of all of the services and networks available when starting the search for employment or graduate studies.
The significant programming aspects of the Polar Careers office include several important Career Fairs held annually on the ONU campus. Recruiters and their companies are represented, and their interactions with ONU students have been quite instrumental in the superb placement rates that have been achieved. The Polar Careers office, via a brief PowerPoint review, has shared the results of recent fairs and encourages you, as parents, to communicate the importance of these events to your ONU students.
Ohio Northern has much to offer your students as they look to expand their cultural horizons.
Dr. Lynda Nyce, ONU's new director of Global Academic Initiatives, provides insight into her background and her vision for enhancing the student experiences beyond borders:
When students participate in study-abroad and other cross-cultural experiences, they bring new understandings and new questions to campus life. The resulting challenges for ONU are to assist students in making sense of these experiences, facilitate additional opportunities for exchange and encourage life-long exploration across cultures. In other words, the challenge is to increase global competence among the members of the campus community. William Hunter and colleagues define global competence as "having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, and leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively in diverse environments."
My own experiences include: being a college student living in Mexican/Mexican-American West side of San Antonio, Texas, studying abroad in China, serving as a faculty member leading a South Texas/Mexico borderlands course, teaching for Semester at Sea while circumnavigating the world, and living in France. These experiences have profoundly enriched my life. I have become committed to the idea of an experiential, immersed education that builds global competence by encouraging students to step out of the boundaries of local community and into the global world.
Ohio Northern is fortunate to have interested and involved parents who have stepped up to provide feedback, guidance and ideas. This volunteer advisory group meets on campus and communicates periodically as a group. If you have suggestions or have a desire, as an ONU parent, to communicate with a member of our advisory council, please feel free to connect with any of the current members. If you are interested in being considered to join the council in the future, please email Karen Condeni for further information.
Along with efforts to increase positive communication University- and community-wide, we are trying to increase positive communication with prospective and admitted students and their families. This past spring, for the first time, we reached out to parents of current ONU students and asked them to write postcards to parents and families of admitted prospective students - and hopefully future Polar Bears! It is our hope to make them feel like one of the family.
If you would be willing to help us take on this wonderful endeavor and volunteer to write 10-20 postcards this coming spring, please contact Brenna Roy, admissions counselor, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, current student and the best way to contact you. We look forward to hearing from you.