Rising tuition raises questions

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April 27, 2007

12:32 AM

In the April 20 issue, The Flat Hat reported that the College will raise tuition rates next year. According to the article, tuition will increase 8.5 percent for out-of-state students and 7.5 percent for Virginians. The article stresses the fact that we need to raise tuition in order to keep up with the competition. But at what cost?

p. The price of college tuition is already unbearable for so many students, and as more students are forced to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, the idea that they would have to pay more just doesn’t seem fair. What good are better facilities if the best students can’t afford to come and enjoy them?
My first reaction to an increase in tuition is that I don’t want it. Why would I want the school to demand more money out of my own pocket? Why should my sophomore year cost more than my freshman year? I’m not doing anything different and as far as I know I won’t be getting anything better — or will I?

p. I have heard all of the promises before. By increasing tuition, we can provide teachers with higher salaries and better resources for students. But my question is, how will the extra 7.5 percent that I am now required to pay benefit me personally? Of course I want better resources, but how do I know that the money I am paying is going toward the things that I want? I can ask this question time and time again, but the answer remains the same — I don’t know.

p. If we want to build a nicer stadium we need more money, but for those people who don’t go to football games, why should they have to pay more? It’s often hard for students and families to understand why they should have to pay more for the same thing they were getting the year before. It’s a problem that will come up in our lives constantly. We all hesitate to give money when we might not necessarily reap the benefits.

p. That’s why we have to look at this from a broader perspective. Maybe the improvement of teachers’ salaries doesn’t affect us directly, but a lot of good can come out of it. If teachers’ salaries increase, we will be able to get the best teachers to work at the College. And beyond that, if teachers get paid more they will be motivated to work harder, because they will enjoy their jobs more. Just think about it: a small increase in a salary might make the difference between your “B+” and “A-.”

p. Beyond the broader benefits, considering the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech, the rise in tuition could not have come at a better time. When many students wonder if such a travesty might happen at the College, the extra money could be put toward better security in order to ensure that all of us feel safe in the place that we call home.

p. While we want the best staff and resources, the students must remain the first priority and an increase in tuition, while significant, will help all parties.

p. __Rachael Siemon-Carome, a freshman at the College, is a staff columnist. Her columns appear on Fridays.__

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