Editorial: The season for freezing temperatures and tuitions
College is too expensive. Anybody who has recently enrolled in any amount of courses, had to rent or buy a textbook or lived in a cramped dorm room can attest to the exorbitant prices of university tuition and fees.
Regardless of the financial strain that college tuition poses, the university is neither exemplary nor innocent with regard to this issue. The university continues to raise its tuition fees each year, and students continue to feel the brunt without feeling any benefits.
But there’s another option gaining traction at other universities. By freezing the tuition, or keeping the tuition at a guaranteed constant, the university could, while not exactly making college affordable, stop making it increasingly unaffordable.
There is little evidence justifying the consistent price increases. The tuition increases are inconsistent with current inflation rates, thus making them even more questionable. With buildings going up left and right, the university does not appear to be at any shortage for cash.
If the university’s agenda meets success in the coming years, the student body will grow while tuition costs will continue to rise, should the current trends persist. More money, more bodies and more problems for students. (Think more housing shortages and larger class sizes.)
While the tuition increases might be justified if the benefits were tangible and secured for all students, there is no evidence that the funds are going to anything specific or especially groundbreaking. For these reasons, the price increase seems both self-serving and at the expense of those the university is tasked with serving and supporting.
If the university wants to take more money from its students, then it should declare itself a private institution as opposed to a public one — no institution can say it serves the public when it tries to exploit both students and taxpayers. For years, administrators have begged the state for more money, citing its public status, while also raising tuition, trying to get a cut from both sides. Yet, when anyone tries to figure out where the university’s funds really go, the university plays private.
For the university, consistency should be key. Students should not be forced to shell out more cash each year to receive the education that they were promised, and that, in today’s uncertain market, could very well leave them jobless. There is a sense of desperation wafting from these attempts to raise more funds that only serves to alienate the people whom the tuition increases should be benefiting.
Editorials reflect the majority opinion of the editorial board, led this week by Alex Eichenstein. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.