Submitted by James Booth
During this time of COVID, students and their families are going through a time of unprecedented financial stress. Per NBC News, an estimated 8 million Americans are expected to slip into poverty. Millions more are enduring varying levels of food insecurity and financial instability, falling behind on loan and credit card payments and more. And as if this was not enough, an additional 30-40 million Americans face eviction from landlords who demand payment of overdue rent, many are already in the process of being evicted nationwide.
Many of these people are students and are part of our UW community. From a 2019 survey of the Tacoma, Seattle, and Bothell campuses 21% of UW students had trouble paying rent and another 25% experienced food instability, often or sometimes being unable to have enough to eat. Sufficient nutrition and a stable fiscal situation are key if we are to have any hope of students continuing their academic success during the pandemic. Study after study after study has demonstrated as much.
It is confusing, then, as to why Washington State’s biggest college insists on continuing to charge massive tuition rates to its students. I am taking 10 credits this quarter, costing me just shy of $4,000, money primarily going to buildings and facilities which I cannot access. With a massive student debt crisis to the tune of $1.6 trillion nationally, I cannot understand why the UW chooses to add insult to injury by charging tuition rates many cannot afford.