Tuition & Fees, Room & Board: A History

In the early years of Bowling Green State University, tuition was free with only a small incidental fee. This was thanks, in part, to BGSU’s first president Homer B. Williams, who believed an education should be provided to each high school student at the lowest possible expense. After 1919, the University began charging a “registration fee” for tuition because the State of Ohio had reached the limit of its support for educational institutions and mandated that they find alternate ways to finance themselves. Later that year, the “registration fee” was more appropriately renamed as the “instructional fee.”

Information regarding current tuition and fees can be found at the Office of the Bursar.  

In 1924, the University began to split the student fees into a variety of categories, including fees for student activities, health, library, etc. These fees were all combined into one “incidental fee” in 1956. In 1968, a “student service fee” was added to the incidental fee. The following year this extra fee was removed and the “incidental fee” was renamed “general fee.”

Until 1939, Room and Board rates were provided for women because the university had only one dormitory, exclusively for women, on its campus. After the first men’s dormitory opened in 1939, rates for both men and women were provided. In 1953, the room and board rates were combined into one fee, only to be separated again in 1982. In 1971, BGSU began offering multiple housing plans to students beyond the simple single and double room rates and this fee structure continues to the present day.

In these spreadsheets of fees provided below, the statistics for 1914-1979 were taken from BGSU’s Annual Catalogs. The figures for 1980-1990 were taken from the BGSU Resource Planning Handbook. Data collected for 1991-2006 was taken from a combination of the BGSU Annual Catalog and the Board of Trustees Minutes. Fees recorded are from the rates posted for the fall semester. Note that from 1968-1981, the university was on a quarterly schedule, so rates posted from that time span are for fall quarters. This study does not include room rates after 2000. The study also does not include board or meal plan rates after 1982.