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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Tuition hike misguided, must consider needs of student body

Published: April 5, 2012
Section: Editorials

Brandeis is not in an enviable position when it comes to tuition costs. Students constantly protest the poor facilities and the sub-par services, among other things. Brandeis cannot fix these things without money. But, when Brandeis raises tuition, students begin protesting the tuition hikes.

While this editorial board understands the difficult position Brandeis is in, we cannot condone the tuition increases. Brandeis claims to be a university that cares about all of its students from all economic backgrounds. And yet, this tuition increase will significantly impact students from middle-class families who are receiving little or no financial aid and who struggle to pay the current tuition bill.

A Brandeis tuition is already expensive and many of these students are already struggling. While we understand that Brandeis needs more money, it should not come from the students whose bank accounts are already stretched to the breaking point.

Additionally, this editorial board cannot condone the proposed allocations of this money. We hope university officials and Student Union leaders will take seriously their promise to hear student input on this issue. Funds from tuition increases should be used to support programs and facilities that students view as priorities.

While next year’s budget and tuition increase are final, we hope that as the university continues developing its strategic plan it will keep housing renovations as one of its top priorities. While building new residence halls is highly expensive, more modest renovations to first-year dorms is an effective way to recruit prospective students.

When it comes to rising tuition costs, it is not an adequate excuse to say that our increases are lower than other universities. For a school that prides itself on financial access and economic equality, administrators need to set an example for managing tuition costs. We understand the need for raising them to provide more services and improve campus facilities. But we hope these rising costs are not permanent. There are innovative ways to boost fundraising and, for the administrators already making six-figure salaries, we hope not to see increases next year. As our costs go up, six-figure salaries should not.

Financial decisions are complex and we hope that, going forward, the trustees and officials making them will keep in mind that students’ ability to afford their education and access high-quality services and facilities on campus must remain the priority. Balancing these two competing objectives will require creativity and most importantly, student input going forward.