EDITORIAL: Reforming the Tuition Increase Process
For a university that has recently been accused of strategically cutting its financial aid to low- and middle-income students, Georgetown should pay close attention to prioritizing and easing the financial burden on its students.
Yet in a Feb. 14 email to undergraduates, Georgetown University announced it would raise tuition for the next academic year by 3.5%, from $59,784 to $61. $872. The university specifically cites recent national inflationary trends as a major factor in this decision, as well as the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This rise follows a long worrying trend of rising tuition fees, creating an even higher bill for students attending one of the Very expensive private universities in the United States. Last year, the university increased its tuition by 4% and 3.5% the year before. Although most private universities increase their tuition every year, Georgetown’s 2021 tuition increase was close to double the national average.
The Editorial Board calls on the administration to ensure greater transparency in its financial decisions by prioritizing student contribution and mitigating the adverse effects on low- and middle-income students who are disproportionately affected by tuition fee increases.
Tuition prices primarily affect students, but the student body has little or no influence in the process of deciding these increases. According to the university, many factors are considered before deciding on the final price.
“There are a variety of factors considered in setting tuition fees, including the costs of providing a high-quality education, the sources of financial aid available, the expected costs for competitive faculty salaries, and personnel, student services, technology upgrades, maintenance and improvements. to campus facilities, and national price inflation and the cost of goods,” a university spokesperson told The Hoya.
The university’s statement glaringly lacks any direct input from undergraduate and graduate students. In fact, almost every university in the country has no student representation in this process. Georgetown tuition has been rising for at least the past nine years, and it will almost certainly continue to rise. In light of this, those directly affected, who bear the brunt of price increases, should –– at the very least –– be included in the process before a decision is made.
Moreover, according to the university financial informations As of fiscal year 2021, approximately 49% of its $1.7 billion revenue comes from student tuition, with the remainder coming from grants, contributions and other sources.
While students continue to go into massive debt to pay for their education, the university continues to pay its top officials obscene salaries. According to a tax return 2019 which lists the annual salaries of the university’s most important personalities, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) earned $1.3 million, coach- Men’s basketball chief Patrick Ewing earned $3.4 million, with other high-profile figures like Provost Robert Groves earning over $800,000 a year.
Rather than continuing to raise tuition fees, the university should lower the salaries of its senior executives and reinvest that money to reduce the amount of debt students incur to pay for their education.
Tuition fees often increase deter low-income students to enroll in more selective schools for fear of graduating with high debts. By raising its tuition fees, the university creates and perpetuates an unrepresentative campus environment that excludes low-income students who have much to offer college.
For current low-income students, these increases could create an even more difficult campus environment to live in, especially for students who depend on outside scholarships, whose university only waives a maximum of $3,000 in tuition fees. a student.
In a Feb. 18 article in The Hoya, Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) President Nile Blass (COL ’22) echoed those concerns.
“This is going to negatively impact many students who have outside scholarships because of the way Georgetown calculates aid,” Blass told The Hoya. “It just seems to create a bigger chasm between how students, especially those on support, are going to be able to support themselves in a meaningful way and maintain some level of stability in the university environment.”
When considering recent trends in inflation and other increases in other competitive universities, it is understandable that the university feels the need to continually increase its tuition fees. It’s also important to note that the university will spend $260 million in financial aid of its total tuition, a 13% increase over last year’s financial aid investments.
At a notoriously expensive university, however, the administration should prioritize easing the financial burden on students to ensure they don’t become further entrenched in the already exorbitant student debt crisis.
When evaluating tuition fee increases, the university must consider student input by actively working with student representatives to limit the effects of financial decisions on low-income and working-class students. In addition, they should seek other sources of income, move away from an overreliance on tuition fees and instead look to endowments, donations, and potentially even senior executive salaries as a means of funding. Committing to meeting the financial needs of students shouldn’t be a big ask; it should be the bare minimum.
La Hoya’s editorial board is made up of six students and is chaired by the Opinion Editors. Editorials reflect the beliefs of the majority of the Board of Directors only and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the Board of Directors.