President Ono Recommends Tuition Freeze, Sale of University House to Establish Scholarship Fund

President Santa J. Ono announced at the UC Board of Trustees meeting on April 23 his recommendation that in-state undergraduate tuition for the 2013-14 fiscal year be frozen at this year’s levels and that University House be sold with the proceeds to be directed to an endowment fund for student scholarships. President Ono has also informed the board that he will not accept a salary increase or bonus payment for the next two years.

The recommended tuition freeze is scheduled to be voted on by the board at its June meeting and would apply to the Undergraduate Instructional, General, Campus Life and the Information Technology and Instructional Equipment Fee.

“Now is the time for UC to send a clear and compelling message to the broader community that our university is firmly committed to keeping costs down for our students,” President Ono informed the board. “This commitment must start with me as president.” 

The University of Cincinnati first moved its presidential residence into University House at Edgecliff Point in December 2004 during the tenure of President Nancy L. Zimpher, when Buck (UC Law, 72) and Patti Niehoff donated its use to UC for a period of 10 years. The condo had been owned by Patti’s mother, Harriette (Happy) Williams Downey, until her death in 2004. In 2008, the Niehoffs set aside the 10-year time limit and donated the condominium outright as a gift to the university.

The Niehoffs fully support President Ono’s proposal to sell the residence to establish a fund to be named the Presidential Niehoff Scholarship Fund. “President Ono’s decision to convert his official UC residence into scholarships is an act of remarkable vision and personal generosity,” said Buck Niehoff. Dr. Ono’s decision “is a recognition that students are the real treasure of our university. They are the reason we are here. And transforming their lives and providing opportunities for their futures have always been the highest calling of this great university,” Mr. Niehoff added. “This is an exciting day for UC. And the entire Niehoff Family – my wife Patti, son Peter, his wife Betsy and I – are very proud to have played a small supporting role in helping to make it happen.”

President Ono emphasizes that once the Presidential Niehoff Scholarship Fund is established, “it will further advance our heightened commitment to improving access and affordability for our students.”

In coming weeks, President Ono said, the university will continue to discuss and announce similar measures to rethink the way the university operates, spends, saves, invests and innovates.