Staff Ed: Students mourn empty pockets as tuition prices rise
By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF
Administration is making plans to yet again raise tuition prices for students at the University of Mary Washington. Every school year, since 2013, tuition, room and board have steadily been rising. There was a 3.8 percent increase for the 2013-2014 school year, 4.8 percent the following year and a 5.2 percent increase for the current year.
These numbers include room and board prices, which are also projected to increase. The administration is now planning to increase tuition and room and board prices by 5.8 percent for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, starting July 1.
This tuition increase has not been finalized, but an increase in room and board prices has been. Any students wishing to live in university housing next year will have to pay 2.5 percent more than students living on campus this year.
All meal plans, except the Anytime Meal Plan, are also slotted to increase by 2.5 percent in prices for the next academic year. The big question on the minds of us here at The Blue & Gray Press is why is it necessary for the school to yet again raise prices?
The school’s main revenue sources are tuition and fees, state taxpayer support, and federal funds for limited financial aid programs. A major part of revenue is also received from application fees, parking decals, facilities rentals, library fines, orientation and late payment fees. With all of these sources of revenue, it seems unnecessary for our tuition to be increasing in price every year.
It appears the state taxpayer support can not be used for anything deemed an auxiliary cost. Auxiliary costs are those that are non academic, this includes housing, dining, the bookstore, student recreation and athletics.
Two very recent auxiliary costs are the University Center and the creation of the Anytime Meal Plan. Both of these plans were expensive to build and cost a lot to keep running.
Over the last semester, many articles were written with student complaints directed toward the UC and the Anytime Meal Plan, especially regarding the meal plan.
Since the money being used for the UC and the meal plan is coming from students, shouldn’t the students’ voices be heard in regards to complaints?
The UC was built to attract out of state students, whose numbers have dropped in recent years. The administration should be focusing on taking care of the students that already go to UMW. This tuition increase is putting students even more in debt and not giving them much in return. The increase could even cause students to leave the university because they are unable to afford it any longer.
The administration did hear student complaints on the Anytime Meal Plan and attempted to compromise with students by giving them 30 meals to use outside of the dining hall. If administration sticks with their plan to increase tuition and room and board,they will need to compromising with students more frequently if they hope to have any left.