I appreciate the letter Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills sent to students explaining the university’s reasoning for yet another tuition increase. He clearly lays out the logic for why the university has chosen to do this and should be applauded for such transparency. However, I’d like to offer a rebuttal to his points, to explain students’ frustration when it appears.”Even with this eight percent increase, TCU’s tuition will remain at approximately the national average for private universities,” Mills wrote.
This point is difficult to contest. As a graduating senior, I feel my education has been above average, and the statistics indicate that TCU costs less than other private institutions. Still, the educational value of TCU in comparison to other schools was and is one of its most attractive qualities. Raising tuition creates a perception that this value is declining.
“While tuition is increasing, I am convinced that it will be more than offset by rising quality,” Mills wrote.
There is no doubt TCU will be able to improve the quality of the school with more funds. However, students like myself often feel we’re being forced to pay for items that will never directly benefit us. Yes, these improvements will enhance TCU’s prestige and recognition, which will make my forthcoming degree look that much better. Still, I will likely never park in the new lots; certainly never frequent or live in the commons; walk past a new education building; or drive down a Berry Street without construction. If these improvements are for future students, perhaps tuition increases should be saved for them. After all, it seems their education will be of a better “quality” than mine, so why shouldn’t they pay for it?
“TCU is increasing financial aid in proportion to tuition,” Mills wrote.
Even if aid grows in proportion, the student will still pay more out of his or her own pocket. Say total cost is $10 and aid is $8. If cost is doubled to $20, and aid is raised in proportion to $16, then the student is still paying $2 more. I’m sure the Board of Trustees knows this, but for some students, this can be the breaking point or will at least put them in greater debt, so the administrators must understand when students aren’t completely appeased with “in proportion” aid increases.
“Additionally, we also will provide an exceptional residential experience,” Mills wrote.
I cannot speak to this as well, as I have lived off-campus for the last two and half years. What I do know is that my housing expenses currently run about $200 less per month than my on-campus peers; therefore, a 5 percent increase for on-campus housing certainly doesn’t make me want to move back, even with all the perceived advantages. “Perhaps some of the new scholarships could go to helping students pay for housing costs.”
Aside from these issues, the fact that the news of increasing costs comes on the heels of a Skiff article announcing the endowment is again approaching the $1 billion mark is disconcerting. Clearly TCU is doing well. Is one year without an increase too much to ask? I trust that the TCU administration is not out to get me or my money, and that these points have been considered and raising costs was still justified. As the Board undoubtedly is privy to more information than I am, I will defer to its better judgment and support the increase. However, when/if students begin voicing their disappointment with these increases, this is why.
– Adam Ramsey, senior political science major from Crockett.