Tuition increases risk stunted growth of students and their future success
June 20, 2011 —
Last week, the SVSU Board of Control voted to increase tuition by 6.9 percent for the upcoming school year. The Vanguard understands that the increase is necessary to allow the University to continue providing quality education and services to students, but we question the forces in the state that make the increase necessary.
In speaking with James Muladore, we learned that the state of Michigan has decreased its funding to SVSU by 42 percent since 2001. We wonder where this money has gone. We do not necessarily understand the complexities of a tough economy, but we do understand the burden we face as students in continued cuts.
Muladore also said that he does not expect funding from the state to return to the levels it was in 2001. This expectation is worrisome for us. College expenses are difficult enough as is; students who attend college need to keep up with the costs not only for school, but they also have to pay for the rising prices of living expenses like food and gas. We feel that the difficulties we face in college will help us grow as productive citizens of society, but these are difficulties no one should have to face in the name of an education.
We also ask if itís fair to cut funding to students at all levels of education. We are caught in a vicious cycle. Michigan needs an educated work force to have a successful economy, but the stateís economic situation apparently does not allow students to receive a quality education without the risk of debt. Students are taught as early as grade school and middle school that going to college will help them be successful in life. But what happens when they arenít able to afford college as part of a growing gap between those who can and cannot afford to receive a degree?
We worry that tuition increases will become the norm. If this is something that students should expect in the course of their education, they risk getting into a cycle of debt that could feel difficult to climb out of. We feel that itís impossible to start fresh after graduation with thousands of dollars of debt for a piece of paper that exemplifies four or more years of hard work.
Some expressed a feeling of abandonment by the state of Michigan. One said that it feels like weíve continually been ignored and that weíre being blocked from reaching any sort of success after college. While this may not be the intention of those working in our state government, itís a feeling that we share as a result of continued cuts to education and the increased difficulties we face in making ends meet while in school.
Despite this, we commend SVSU for increasing its scholarships and financial aid to $10.5 million. Itís a showing of commitment to us as students and for our future. We hope that the state of Michigan will follow its example, and soon.