Editorial: Tuition the main culprit for transfer students

What is it about Northeastern that drives students away, instead of welcoming them in?

Former Northeastern student Kristin Wilke transferred her freshman year, citing Northeastern’s academic courses as the problem. Others have left Huntington Avenue to remove themselves from the hurried Boston culture, preferring the comforts of home to the busybodies of the city. But the most prevailing reason, and a problem to which most of us can relate, concerns the check written each semester.

That is, the check the students, or anyone paying on their behalf, write for $28,734 – the price of tuition for one year at Northeastern.

It’s one thing when “Higher tuition, Richer Freeland,” shirts pop-up on campus to protest the high costs of attending the university, but it’s another when students begin leaving the school due to its high costs and lack of financial aid.

Ory Felch is a prime example, a former Husky who enjoyed the diversity and urban experience at Northeastern, but couldn’t stay because of the high tuition. Felch is one of many freshmen and sophomores who are now closer to home because of tuition.

It is freshmen and sophomores who have the highest transfer rates. These two groups are often the lifeline, and future, of our student organizations. The high transfer rates are depriving the school of bright and innovative students.

This problem has gotten out of hand, and unfortunately, it looks like there is no avoiding tuition hikes in the future.

The school raised tuition 4.5 percent in 2004, and then outdid itself a year later, hiking it by 6.2 percent. Fortunately the trend took a dip last January, when Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Larry Mucciolo and the Fiscal Advisory Committee cut us some slack, deciding only to up tuition by 5.3 percent. One reason for this hike was the high costs of heating, the News reported Feb. 22, 2006.

These considerations are an important part of the Northeastern experience, and they deserve to be addressed. But if Northeastern wishes to hang tough with the “Lucky 13,” schools – Boston College, Boston University, George Washington University, to name a few tuition hikes need to be kept to a minimum and Northeastern needs to retain stellar students they’ve done such a good job of attracting in the first place.

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