Tuition hike for funding grinds gears

Vanessa Roach

The Board of Trustees approved a six percent tuition increase July 9. Tuition for in-state undergraduate students at the university will increase three percent in the 2015-2016 school year, and another three percent in the 2016-2017 school year. The reason for the tuition increase is to provide salary compensation increases to faculty and to fund the David L. Rice Merit Scholarship program, which will now become available to non-resident students.

I agree that professors deserve raises, but increasing my tuition to cover such salary raises does not sit well with me. Offering more scholarships to students is nice, but if college was cheaper we all wouldn’t need scholarships (the hassle of filling out countless scholarship forms is something I can live without).

Gone are the days in which a student could work part time to afford college tuition. Students are now slaving away at full time jobs while attending school full time. As a result of this, students make poorer grades, skip more classes and are becoming increasingly zombie-like.

Last semester I was working 40 hours per week while tackling 17 credit hours and three extra curricular activities. I’ve asked myself many times why I am forced to do this and the answer is because my rent is expensive, I need basic necessities to survive and I don’t want to have $50,000 worth of student loans waiting ominously for me when I graduate.

I don’t mind taking a heavy load of classes. In fact, I would probably choose to overload if it wasn’t for the fact that I am forced to work an insane amount of hours every week in order to keep my needs met and my debt at a minimum.

I understand that colleges need money to pay for salary increases, remodeling and other necessary things on campus. What I don’t understand is why each student’s tuition within the next three years will increase to a total of six percent. Unfortunately, due to state budget cuts on education, tuition increases are the easiest way for colleges to pay for what they need.

The fact is, our economy is in a sad state; not just in Indiana, but nationwide. We can blame Obama (as we seem to do for most things that go wrong), but we’d be wrong in doing so. It’s neither the President’s nor the university’s fault for raising tuition, but rather the government’s.

Colleges attract new students with their sports and amenities, so making cuts in these areas tend to decrease enrollment. Instead, increasing student tuition helps make up for the lack of funding our federal and state government give to education.

I guess our government thinks that supplying our military with bigger guns is more important than lowering the academic burden of our students. Unless our government decides to prioritize education for once, I don’t see tuition lowering anytime soon.