Tuition Increase

Summer is just beginning, and with almost three months of it left, UW Tacoma students are spending time with friends, enjoying the occasional sunshine, and finding ways to scrape together an extra $1,811 to pay tuition for the 2012-2013 school year.

In a document on the University of Washington website, tuition increases are explained as an attempt to offset the $217 million in cuts from last year, as well as a way to expand financial aid to middle income students and increase services such as tutoring.

While these may seem like good things, actual students for whom these tuition increases mean an even greater struggle for higher educational attainment don’t necessarily see the benefits.

“It was too big of a jump,” says Victoria, a senior at UWT, who works two jobs in order to pay for school. Having to pay so much tuition chips away at people’s ability to pay for the cost of living in general, also on the rise. She pointed out that oftentimes most of these costs are being born by single parents, such as her father, who are bearing the cost of supporting their children alone.

Mary Anne, also a senior and first generation college student, voiced concern over the effect this tuition increase will have on low income families. “It is hard for low income families to get loans,” she said, explaining that, with her sisters in college too, paying tuition is a real struggle.

It is no real comfort to anyone that, while Regents claim this will be the last double digit percentage increase, tuition will continue to rise by single digits into the foreseeable future, making it more difficult year by year to begin, or continue a quest for higher education at a time when 59 percent of jobs require some type of degree; a statistic that is predicted to rise considerably in the next six years.

Dorothy, a PP&E major feels that the tuition increase was unfair all around, and the government is looking for money where there really isn’t any. “They’re barking up the wrong tree; college students don’t have any money.” She foresees many students dropping out of school simply because they can’t afford to pay, or, in seeing the dire need for higher education, going into debilitating debt that could ruin their future. She also pointed out the discrepancy in that, while tuition is increasing, so is financial aid. So why increase tuition just so that the government can make up the difference?

It remains to be seen how the tuition increase will improve or ruin higher education; however, a constant commitment to tell our stories and make our voices heard may result in unforeseen changes.