Tuition increase is both harmful and unnecessary

Tuition increase is both harmful and unnecessary

On Friday night, while many were in the midst of enjoying their St. Patrick’s day festivities, the university released an announcement that tuition will raise 3.65 percent to $51,400 for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Adjusted costs including room, board and other additional fees brings the estimated cost of attendance to $69,192.

While the cost of tuition is naturally expected to fluctuate based on inflation, university expenditures or admitted students, this steep increase is both unnecessary and harmful to current and incoming students.

The editorial opinion from March 2 voiced our concerns regarding Wake Forest’s deceptive financial aid policies. The Department of Education’s scorecard demonstrates that most students graduate with an average of only $22,320 in student loans. This value suggests that students either pay full tuition or receive generous federal aid.

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Many students burdened with paying for their own tuition without parental assistance now take on the burden of heavier student loans, leaving college with well over $100,000 in debt.

Debt is a major issue that follows graduates for years after they leave campus, and likewise raises questions of the worth of this institution. A future plagued with debt is not one that allows a student to “thrive” or focus on their “well-being,” as administrative efforts advocate for Wake Forest students to do. 

Offering very few merit-based scholarships to supplement this high tuition, this decision threatens deterring potential students from attending Wake Forest if they cannot pay this high fee. This is a serious issue considering diverse, well-rounded, even ideal candidates may be turned away, unable to pay almost $70,000 for a year of education.

Following trends from other schools in the country, Wake Forest accepts exponentially more international students each year. Questions regarding international students are relevant, as they are not given the same opportunities for scholarships or financial aid as domestic students. Most students from outside the U.S. are required to pay full tuition.

Further, this unexpected tuition hike comes at a time when students should have instead expected a decrease in cost. Wake Forest, for years, has been gradually increasing the freshman class to welcome more students to campus. With the opening of Maya Angelou Hall and the Innovation Quarter introducing studies in engineering, it is clear that Wake Forest plans to increase the population.

More students on campus directly correlates with more students paying tuiton. With more students, where does a need for a 3.65 percent increase in tuition coming from?

Sure, students enjoy more prominent speakers on campus, renovated dorm buildings and healthier options in the dining halls, but there must be a line drawn between improvements and an increasingly unaffordable education. 

The threat of losing more applicants and students due to financial burdens is where this line exists. Students are now calling upon the administration to provide transparent justification for the increased tuition.

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