Looking at the tuition rate code form- is it best for an incoming freshman to select variable rate or 4 year locked rate?

WE chose variable for my son last year. It’s really a risk preference. If you want to know for sure every year, then choose fixed. If you think the tuition can’t grow that much, then choose variable. ALSO, note that if students choose distance education classes (sometimes it’s the only option), there is a heavy fee associated… like $700 added to tuition.

@Thelma2 @AggieMomhelp Ok I had an thought that may really help some people make the decision on this. If your son/daughter is in Blinn Team or TEAB, it may be more advantageous to pick the locked rate. The reason is that the locked rate is assuming about a 3.25% increase per year. So what that means is that if tuition rises at 3.25% both plans require the same amount of money (excluding present value of money). Because Blinn Team will be paying Blinn Team the first year or two, a student is not paying the extra up front in the first couple of years. My estimation is that it lowers the break even tuition rise to about 2.25% if your son/daughter has Blinn team for one year. I was initially going to choose variable but I think I have changed my mind to fixed.

@AggieMomhelp , if we have the Texas tuition promise fund, does that affect whether we choose fixed or variable? Thanks

@camandcam I don’t believe that affects anything when choosing Tuition plan.

Does anyone have a comparison between the locked rate for the past 4 to 5 years of graduating classes and the actual variable rate for the same period? In other words, past performance may inform the level of risk one is to undertake. If the last 5 years show that variable tuition over 4 years was more expensive than the locked rate over all, for each class that was graduating (2018 to 2022), then it make the decision to go fixed easier.

The locked vs variable didn’t begin until the class of 2020, I believe. My nephew is 2019 and they didn’t have an option. When my daughter (same class) transferred as a sophomore, we had to pick. She picked fixed. My son who is a sophomore now picked variable. It’s been very close.

Since this thread is still active, I did want to say that anyone who is using the TX Tuition Promise Fund should confirm whether to choose fixed or variable tuition with the TTPF admin. I was told to choose fixed for another state uni. It makes sense that they would be risk-averse.

Folks, I emailed Student Business Services and got some interesting answers.
First, prior to entering class of 2016-2017, every student was on the fixed/locked plan for 4 years. That meant your base tuition and fees were fixed for the 4 years based on your semester of entry (this is the exact opposite of my private school undergrad, where tuition went up every year). The “new” plan in 2016-2017 was the variable plan.

I also asked for historical data for the College of Engineering, and proceeded to do some math.

This is what I found based on the following data:
Rates for a resident, full-time, undergraduate, College Station student in the College of Engineering:

Locked Rate:
2015-2016 - $5,538.70
2016-2017 - $6,015.19
2017-2018 - $6,123.42
2018-2019 - $6,491.12
2019-2020 - $6,646.91

Variable Rate:
2015-2016 - Not introduced as an option
2016-2017 - $5,853.87
2017-2018 - $5,959.20
2018-2019 - $6,182.12
2019-2020 - $6,330.44

Analysis (Sorry, tables don’t paste well)
Entering Engineering Locked Rate
College of Engineering Semester Year

Year Locked Rate % Change % Change 4 years Total tuition

2015-2016 $5,538.70 $11,077.40 $44,309.60
2016-2017 $6,015.19 $12,030.38 8.60% $48,121.52
2017-2018 $6,123.42 $12,246.84 1.80% $48,987.36
2018-2019 $6,491.12 $12,982.24 6.00% 17.20% $51,928.96
2019-2020 $6,646.91 $13,293.82 2.40% 10.50% $53,175.28

        Semester    Year        

Variable Rate Variable Rate % Change % Change 4 years

2015 N/A

2016 $5,853.87 $11,707.74

2017 $5,959.20 $11,918.40 1.80%

2018 $6,182.12 $12,364.24 3.74%
2019 $6,330.44 $12,660.88 2.40% 8.14%

The percentage increases are smaller, BUT if you look at the total 4 year cost of the variable plan,

If you entered in 2016 VARIABLE, you paid: $48,651.26 VS $48,121.52 on locked plan (saving $ 529.74)
If you entered in 2017 VARIABLE, you paid for 3 years to date: $36,943.52, on locked plan x 4 years = $48,987.36
That means, in order for senior year variable to be cheaper than locked, VARIABLE tuition has to be: $12,043.84
BUT we know the last time tuition was less than $12,043.84, it was 2017 at $11918.40.
Variable Tuition will be at least $12,660.88 (This year).

Past Performance Is No Guarantee of Future Results, but at least for the College of Engineering, the Locked plan is the better option.for the entering class of 2016 and 2017.

Hope this helps!

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I see they increased the locked rate by 6% from 2017 to 2018 while the variable rate only increase by 3.74%. This will impact your comparison beginning in 2018. 2018 fixed rate for 4 years is $51,928 . The variable rate figuring a 3.3% increase per year would be $51,907. That is assuming a 3.3% per year increase. Over the past three years the average increase was 2.65%. At that rate of 2.65 the variable tuition would be $51,457 -saving $471
Please let me know if I am missing something…

Locked Rate Tuition
2019-2020 $11,230.00
2020-2021 $11,230.00
2021-2022 $11,230.00
2022-2023 $11,230.00
Total 8 semesters $44,920.00

Variable plus 2.4% annual increase (average over last 3 years)

($570 less)

Variable plus 3% annual increase
($171 less)

Variable plus 3.3% annual increase

($30 more)

Variable Rate is a gamble -but could turn out better.

I see how you did your math, but I was basing it on College of Engineering tuition rates, which is higher (locked $13,293.82 vs locked $11,230) and that may throw off the numbers. Variable may be a better option for the Non - College of Engineering majors