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Students Speak Out at Tuition Hearing

by Katherine Tasheff

In a last minute notice sent the day before, the University notified students about the date and time of the 2015-2016 Tuition Hearing. Because of this delayed announcement, the Board of Trustees decided to schedule a special meeting to allow students who missed the first meeting to make their voices heard and have any relevant questions answered.

The Board of Trustees sets the yearly tuition rate every July after the state budget is officially adopted in June. The Board holds this meeting open to all students every April to hear what the students have to say about rising costs of tuition, what their financial needs are and how the campus community can balance necessary price increases along with the need to keep college affordable.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 2 p.m. in Ballroom C of the Student Center, with President Susan Cole, Vice President of Campus Life Karen Pennington, the Board of Trustees and their Student Representatives, along with Academic Advising, Financial Aid and Student Accounts to assist students with any concerns they have about their financial situation.
At the meeting President Cole explained to the students the details of why tuition goes up every year and where the extra money goes. She also understood the students’ specific concerns about rising costs and affordability. She spoke at length about all the different payment demands the university had in order to show the students where the money goes and how difficult it is to keep tuition at a low, stable price.

According to President Cole, “We look at what do we absolutely have to pay for, so we look at the mandatory increases that we have, things like negotiated contracts that have salary increases in them–and by the way, they should. People who work in a career and do a good job should have salary increases and they should have benefits. You will want those things when you’re working and I want you to have those things when you’re working.”
Every student who attended the meeting had the opportunity to speak to Cole and the Board; after the meeting, they could speak to representatives from different departments about how to manage the possible tuition increase for the next academic year.

Rebecca Klein, a sophomore General Humanities major, attended the hearing for the first time this year because of her serious financial concerns. According to Klein, “I came to the meeting because I could barely afford to stay in school this year. I have a job but I don’t get paid enough to fund even half tuition and my mom doesn’t have any money to help. If tuition rates go up, I may have to drop out before graduation just because I don’t have enough money to pay for school.”

The Board listened to each student’s concerns and gave them the opportunity to respond. They made sure to listen to each student and were responsive to their questions and concerns. This second special tuition meeting gave more students the option of speaking to the board, allowing both students and the Board to understand each others’ concerns about future costs.

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