Student success is the top priority at SFA, and a number of new initiatives are aimed specifically at reducing student debt and increasing the opportunity for timely degree completion.

A new “15 to Finish” initiative is designed to boost on-time completion rates and provides students with important information about academic credit accumulation, empowering them to make better-informed decisions about their educational journey.

“While not all students are able to take 15 credits per semester, providing information about what it takes to graduate on time helps ensure students are making informed decisions about course loads, their time to degree completion and the costs associated with their academic pathway,” said Dr. Scott Gordon, SFA president.

Undergraduate students can now participate in a flat-rate tuition and fee plan, allowing them to take up to 21 credit hours per semester at the cost of 12 hours with no additional charge. Tuition and fee rates are variable for students who enroll in one to 11 semester credit hours but are flat beginning at 12 semester credit hours.

“By incentivizing students to take additional semester credit hours, the flat-rate plan will help lower student debt levels, decrease the time to graduation and provide greater academic flexibility,” said Dr. Danny Gallant, vice president for finance and administration. “It will create more cost transparency for students and families and simplify the billing process.”

Additionally, when students enter SFA, they have access to a guaranteed price plan that freezes tuition and mandatory fee costs for a period of four years.

“Timely degree completion reduces the cost of a four-year degree and allows students to begin their careers and capitalize on their lifetime earning potential,” Gordon said. “We are looking at every possible option to make college more accessible and affordable for our students, including a variety of course delivery modes that will allow us to most effectively meet students where they are.”

A flat tuition charge of $100 per semester for undergraduate students and $75 per semester for graduate students will replace all course and lab fees, simplifying the billing process and providing greater academic course delivery flexibility.

“This allows students and their families to better calculate what their expenses will be,” Gallant said.

Scarleth Lopez, a senior psychology major from Dayton and president of SFA’s Student Government Association, believes SFA students will appreciate these initiatives.

“I believe this will be really beneficial, especially for first-generation students,” Lopez said. “It will reduce the uncertainty that they may feel about college and incentivize them to take course loads that allow them to reach their goals in a timely manner.”

Two new housing incentives — a Spring Transfer Housing Allowance and a Summer Student Housing Rebate — are designed to help students graduate sooner and take on less debt.

More than 20 current SFA students already are taking advantage of the Spring Transfer Housing Allowance, which can be applied during the initial spring semester either to completely offset the cost of a lower-priced residence hall or significantly reduce the cost of a more expensive facility. To qualify for the one-time allowance, students must be transferring at least 45 credit hours to SFA with at least a 2.5 GPA and enroll for 15 or more spring hours. This year’s Spring Transfer Housing Allowance totaled $2,034, which is equal to the current cost of living in one of the three lowest-priced residence halls.

The Summer Student Housing Rebate will allow students who reside on campus during the spring semester and complete at least nine hours across all summer terms, including Maymester, to have the cost of their summer housing rebated if they continue their residency through the fall. The rebate, equal to the amount paid for summer housing, will be applied to the fall semester bill.

These new programs can help significantly lower the amount of debt students take with them after graduation, not only by reducing overall housing costs but also by shortening the time it takes to complete a degree, according to Dr. Steve Westbrook, vice president for university affairs.