Editorial: Tuition hike unwelcome

When the Budget Review Committee (BRC) chose not to raise the student activities fee last month, it hoped to send a message to the administration that students will not tolerate a tuition hike.

It’s time to see if they got the memo.

Last week, the Enrollment Management and Student Life released its proposed budget for next year, which included a 5.3 percent increase in tuition. This comes as Ivy League Princeton University recently announced it would not be raise tuition, seven years after Williams College made a similar move. Princeton’s reasoning? It had received enough money from donations to make a tuition hike unnecessary.

Northeastern’sdismal alumni giving is well known, and our endowment is nothing on par with Princeton’s. But even if we can’t afford to freeze tuition entirely, keeping the hike to a minimum should be our utmost priority. After all, if we want to be one of the top schools in the country, then it’s time to pay more attention to what the Ivies are doing. If a school of Princeton’s caliber (currently ranked the best school in the country by the U.S. News and World Report) where students are clearly getting an outstanding education can do this, why isn’t this an option here?

But this is not just an issue of following Princeton’s example and hoping to top No. 98 one day. Northeastern should be able to set its own example and work toward lowering the cost of going to college.

President Joseph Aoun has made it a priority to better Northeastern’s endowment, so more money than ever should begin flowing into the school. The cost of gas, which was cited as a major cause of last year’s hike, is far less expensive this year. Not to mention the lukewarm weather for most of November and December.

According to the budget proposed by Philomena Mantilla, Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life, a significant portion of the money raised from the tuition hike will go back into financial aid. Why doesn’t the school just save everyone a lot of time and not raise tuition? That way, students will need less financial aid in the first place.

It appears the Enrollment Management and Student Life will have to come up, once again, with a fresh excuse. In all honesty, our expectations for a good, sound reason for the hike are low.

It’s worth paying good money for this school. It brings great opportunities with co-op and provides a learning experience not available elsewhere (or so says the University brochure).

But is it worth a nice car or a down payment on a house? Northeastern should be cautious about upping its price when even Ivy-leaguers are striving to curb the exploding cost of higher education.

College life is expensive, especially in a big city like Boston. Northeastern should take it upon itself to make it more affordable so that students can graduate with less debt and have more money to spend on furthering their education outside of the classroom, be it some spare change to go to the aquarium or the Boston Symphony.

Those are certainly experiences worth having, but many students don’t have the extra money to do them. It’s time for Northeastern to step up to the plate and say “enough is enough.” Here is our chance to be a cutting-edge school and not raise our tuition. This is our chance to set an example for other schools to follow, rather than the other way around.

Through the BRC, the students have sent a message to the administration. But are they listening?

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