Are we overreacting to change in tuition?
December 15, 2016
Filed under Opinion
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We all received the email from the Provost on the change in tuition prices, J-term and credit caps. This email has sparked a lot of controversy among students, mainly over the fact that J-term will no longer be free of cost. For those of you who do not know what email I am talking about, the tuition at Hamline is being raised by 2.9 percent for the 2017-18 school year, the included J-term will no longer be included in tuition and there will be a cap on the amount of credits a student can take.
While it does seem like there are a lot of downfalls here, we should not jump to arms at the first hearing of new information without looking at the bigger picture.
Starting with the tuition change, this happens yearly. It is something to be expected, and it happens everywhere. This is not a surprise. However, the real news here is that the tuition is being raised by 2.9 percent. Finding the information on tuition on Hamline’s own website, this 2.9 percent turns out to be an increase of $1,106.
According to Augsburg’s website, the tuition rate in the 2016-17 academic school year was $35,750. For the next academic year, this is going to be raised to $36,950. This is an increase of $1,200. This amount is similar to Hamline, yet it is still a higher increase in tuition. Be thankful that Hamline didn’t add on the extra $94, and know that we’re not alone in our tuition raises.
While it is understandable that students may be upset, there is no way that a college can continue to thrive in an increasing economy without increasing the tuition.
The change in J-term may be the most controversial topic from the provost’s email. It may not be as convenient for a student to miss out on the opportunity for a free class, but many other colleges do not offer a J-term at all. Augsburg does not offer its students a chance to take a single class over January at all. Instead, they start their spring semester early.
Keep in mind that just because J-term is no longer free at Hamline, it does not mean that it no longer exists. Students will simply have to pay $612 per credit. Besides Hamline, the only ACTC school to offer another J-term is St. Thomas, and those students have to pay full price for their J-term class. For the year of 2016-2017, this was $1,210 per credit according to their website. There’s a big difference here between the two schools. In regards to Hamline, J-term may costs students more money in their college career, however, it also may not. Taking J-term classes might allow someone to graduate early, saving them money in the long run, but it is not guaranteed.
The last main change that was mentioned in the email is that there will be a cap on credits that are covered by the flat tuition. Instead of having the cap at 20 credits, it will now be 18.
This could potentially set back students in their college careers depending on what their goal is in terms of majors and graduation. But this does not mean that students cannot graduate from Hamline in four years. The email still states that all of the promises to students this year will still be met next year. For example, Hamline will still honor its four-year graduation guarantee as well as “hands-on learning experiences, rigorous academic programs, comprehensive career counseling and academic advising,” according to the email.
In the end, the university is not out to get students. These decisions are made by a selected and qualified board. Sometimes a compromise must be in place, and that is what Hamline is doing with its students by taking into account the needs of the university and the needs of the students. For example, President Miller has said that J-term is unsustainable. But instead of taking it out, they made a compromise.
Along with all of this, it does not mean Hamline will stop offering financial aid to its students. Even with the changes, there are ways to make it work. A dedicated, hard-working student will make things work for themselves.
We can’t expect to get much for free anymore. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true, especially for an expensive, private school. Prices keep changing, and there’s not a whole lot that we can do to stop it. Acceptance and dedication to one’s goals might just be the best strategy to conquer these changes.